Today I raked the last of the leaves and apples,
my dog, Frank,
running laps with his green ring, irritated.
You crossed my mind, as you do each time I am pressed to do something
odious and new.
You took care of everything — I do not remember anything but
a carpet of yellow and gold,
anything but this tableau disappearing, exposing wet earth,
I have since learned that expectation is synonymous with the worst
trees exfoliate and their leaves simply evanesce,
as it is distasteful to consider their decomposition; worse,
a commitment to the graft of attentiveness, care.
I wish that I had watched you at least, hefting up these
fallow masses, unsticking strays from the tines,
I wish that I had seen you, moving through the yard,
the backwards alchemy,
how you pushed us from season to season —
aching as soundlessly as the black boughs that surrendered
this intemperate mass.
Lynn Crosbie has written five books of poems and teaches at the University of Toronto.