Today I raked the last of the leaves and apples,
our dog,
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,
lacerated, expectant.
I have since learned that expectation is synonymous with the worst
arrogance —
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. Her new collection of poetry, The Corpses of the Future, will be published this spring by House of Anansi.

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