Carol Light • Downdraft

The deer dislike the lavender and heather.
Beyond the lattice fence, a buck browses
the youngest of the apple trees. The fig
swabs bedroom windows with its splashy leaves.
As if to hector the roses, pruned and mulched,
as if they’ve forgotten November, a scrawny pair
of poppies bristle and clench, too orange, too red:
thumbs in the eye of the weather.  And a crow
plucks lumps of pumpkin from the compost bin.
I dry my boots beside the fire. I set
my tea to steep on the ledge. The dog’s asleep
beneath my elbow. Warm as toast and snug,
smug as some tweedy squire, I survey
the possibilities. Who wouldn’t stop
to watch those antlers strop? Who’s never been
the thrashed sapling or brazen bud,
all thin dignity determined to arrive?
A gust pipes the chimney, fipple and chiff,
with a rasping hum, and a hum, and a down-draft
puffs once.  Crow and pumpkin: yet to come.

Carol Light’s first book, Heaven from Steam, will be published in 2013 by Able Muse Press. Her poems have appeared in Narrative Magazine, Poetry Northwest, American Life in Poetry, Literary Bohemian, and elsewhere. She lives with her family in Port Townsend, Washington.