September arced across the mountains, a warm
hay-breeze swirled among the graven stones, nudged
faded oak leaves to chatter, stirred the scent of carnations
and the sharp odor of mums that rose from that patch of turned earth.

The day a mountain postcard, dogwoods rusted at woods’ edge
behind the church and buckeyes blazed among the green.
For weeks, that perfect sky taunted me and turned
into October – those days that cause me to chant Yeats
as I walk the dry paths and shuffle gold with my feet.

November came to save me. The rain dripped from eaves,
felled the gaudy leaves, and closed the sky
so I could shut the windows, light the fire, and keen into my tea.

A native of upper East Tennessee, Jane Hicks is an award-winning poet and quilter. Her poetry has appeared in journals and numerous anthologies, and her first book, Blood and Bone Remember, was nominated for and won several awards. Her “literary quilts” illustrate the works of playwright Jo Carson and novelists Sharyn McCrumb and Silas House. The University Press of Kentucky will publish her latest poetry book, Driving with the Dead, in the fall of 2014.

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