The fly in the window buzzes with the shiftlessness
of fall, the futility of evading soon to be frosts forecast
in less than a month. I hear but don’t see it banging against
the blinds, imagine sheets of paper slipping from the piano
bench or blowing from the dining table in this northerly
wind ahead of the front, but then it’s here, sliding down
the pane to skitter up and I can place the sound, calm
myself from getting up to investigate the furtive shufflings.
These patterns are predictable now that solstice has passed.
Woolly bears crossing the road, herons crossing the sky
with less urgency than during the spring rush. Tall sedums
have gone to dusky rose, their heavy heads splayed across
flowerbeds. Asters rim the ditches and pumpkins dot the
brown fields. In the corners, golden argiopes rest above
thick zzz’s signing their webs’ centers, although they’ve yet
to fill their paper balls with eggs and hang them in the eaves.
Three, six, nine, twelve, we tell the months and mark the
seasons. Label things by monsoon or hurricane, the arrival
of tornadoes, the blizzards sweeping across the rangeland.
Tell the years by decades and celebrate the same, remember
songs and dances, celebrities and leaders, famine or prosperity.
Patterns all, but unlike the neatly folded tissues of Butterick and
McCall, none come with guides and so we’re left with just
the whims and vagaries of time we try to trap again and again