November Landscape

I wandered without thinking
Across the bridge and along the tracks
Past where the tarred road ends
Seems I walked this way before

I remember,
the air confetti bright with falling leaves
the scritch of a rake along the pavement
piles of gold and red and brown among the last lush green
whoops and hollers as kids dove in,
wood smoke and cinnamon,
glowing jack o’ lanterns
daring the coming night

But today,
I passed shadow-shrouded yards
tattered scarecrow jacks standing guard over weeds grown rank and wild
empty tire swings twisting silently,
and on the cracked and worn porch steps
ranks of frost bit punkins slumped,
once, a torn curtain shifted,
some pale shadow flickered,
maybe a face behind the smudge streaked window
maybe an odd and passing chance of light

A chained dog lunged
Teeth bared
The rusty links taut and tight about his neck
His breath smoked in the growing chill
I glanced at the house behind him
peeling paint, roof line sprung
merging with the twilight
as though sinking towards the pull of some dark gravity

I wondered who still lived here
Among these long abandoned dreams.
Surely, it’s not been so long.
What’s come of memory lane?

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