I'll tell him, later, when we're sitting together over dinner.
And he'll ask me did I buy anything
With the unspoken question (then why did you go today?)
Hovering on his mouth.
Because it was the last day, I'll tell him.
The last day for the sweet musk of apples and the hard golden curve of pears,
For the lumpy green tang of osage oranges, for a question answered by a heavy old man.
The mist and the morning greetings will probably be around next week, somewhere,
But the smell of soil on rutabegas and beets surely won't last long.
And feeling my toes go numb as I wander between tables of vegetables-
That is irreplaceable.
And the last day is the best, I'll tell him.
Because autumn doesn't wane the way winter does, weakly petering out toward the end.
Autumn saves up color and smell and feeling and warmth and then it goes out
Like a short candle, in a carnival blaze of pumpkins.
The leaves were mostly fallen, this morning,
Their dusky incense packed in around the sharp smell of chives and the late autumn roses.
I wished I could smell the perfect rounded beige of the summer squash,
But they sat piled in chilly, promising reticence.
The thick spice of the apple and pumpkin bread, comforting and homey
Was confusingly wrapped in the clear, crackling cellophane of winter on the air,
And life felt tangible, this morning.
I wanted to walk around and around the parking lot, smelling every stall and every person
And burning them deep into my senses like cleaning-day ammonia,
So I'd smell autumn all winter.
But, I'll tell him, I couldn't keep it.
And I'll tell him I can't explain it
Any more than I could bring it home with me.