~This poem previously appeared in West Branch (1990)
ALL SOULS' DAY
Say November woods.
Say the colors of earth: ocher, sienna, umber,
a hearth where the fire's gone out.
Wind scours trees to their bones.
A chevron of geese cuts a wedge in the sky.
Imagine a hawk the color of winter.
On the day of the dead, he seeks a thermal
and soars. The dead rise, too,
will-o-the-wisps of mist & haze,
tobacco smoke from Indian pipes,
the plumes of tall grasses.
They are always with us,
tangible as breath,
fill the interstices of then and now.
In the November woods, cold air
settles like a blanket.
The sky tucks itself in.
Everywhere, the silence of all the folded wings.
THE STORY BEHIND THE STORY
This poem was first published in West Branch, in 1990. Since that’s over twenty years ago, I can’t remember what prompted it, other than these are the sorts of things I see on my daily walks.
ABOUT BARBARA CROOKER
Barbara Crooker’s poems have appeared in many journals and anthologies such as The Bedford Introduction to Literature, Good Poems for Hard Times (Garrison Keillor, editor), and Common Wealth: Contemporary Poets on Pennsylvania. Among her awards are three Pennsylvania Council on the Arts Creative Writing Fellowships, fourteen residencies at the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, a residency at the Moulin à Nef, Auvillar, France, and residency at The Tyrone Guthrie Centre, Annaghmakerrig, Ireland. Her books are Radiance, Line Dance, and More.nd Brush Poetry Prize, the 2006 Ekphrastic Poetry Award from Rosebud, the 2004 WB Yeats Society of New