The Season-Ender

The day before the season-ender
we shared a wordless lunch— that is
we shared our time,
not our thoughts or food—
butts stuck to a side hill
of tough yellow tussocks
facing out over the narrow canyon.
The sun was shining and
rain was due at two.

Ants found their way up my pantlegs.
I noticed a caterpillar on a blade of grass
and a butterfly tumbled wildly
on a warm breeze.

There were even flowers:
silvery lupine, scarlet gilia,
and the mullein were each blooming
their little yellow flowers
with orange bits inside.

I’d already envisioned what would happen:
the rain turned to freezing
and we emerged from the truck late that evening,
flushed in the cheeks, chilled in the bones,
only a shower to unbend my spine
or break back my wincing shoulders.
And the small lives of the forest,
nearly bringing me to cheer that noon
or at least towards saying something,
were born wrong;

they weren’t meant to live
to see those erupting
yellow trees.

And lucky for them.
They touched the world softly,
and never believed in anything
outside of their own.