Marian Kaplun Shapiro

YOUR LAST NOVEMBER

Who'd have thought dying could be
so beautiful! Red, gold, and orange
kites in marshmallow sky crinkling
onto neat parquets of paling cornfields.
The harvest is gathered. The impatiens have
gone by. Chorus lines of maple trees
perform their striptease dances, one
flimsy garment after the other falling
as we applaud. More! More!

Winter's peace comes soon enough.
Turkeys crosshatch through the snow.
Cardinals sing for crumbs, balancing
their red against the ice white world.
We wonder if the deer, leaping
through these forests, dream of spring,
as we do. We wonder if, like us,
their genes remember April—
or if, their antlers dropping soundlessly
to sleep on pineneedle pillows,
they simply go their ways without regret.

But we—we walk among the tombstones
of this burial ground, believing
in rebirth because we remember
witnessing the warming air.
The melting rivers. The cracking earth.
Our hybernating bones ache
with remembrance, long for
the luminous sweetpea green,
our poor eyes visioning our own
fertile forevers, our someday
springtime resurrections.

Shall we take a walk along this old
familiar path? We can tell each other
tomorrow always comes.
So it's always been.
And will always be.
We count on it. And
we count ourselves in.

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