The Killing Frost by Chera Hammons

Because the warning has come early enough,
the headlights of neighbors catch me in sweeps,
scraping early fallen leaves
over stems of flowers. I know it’s the right thing to do,
make this green life last as long as it can,
though the buffalo grass turns ragged and flat,
and the wind sings into stalks, and the trees give up.
It’s unsettling, the way that in the morning,
geese fly spread in their cold ribbons,
crying to each other before any of them
have even been able to get lost.
I had almost hoped I wouldn’t make it home
in time to do it, it’s so much work.
The thought of it followed me all day,
the feeling of something yet to be done
when I would be cold and tired after
the long drive back, past the canyon road growing longer
in the dark, the coyote
that would run low in front of the car, and the
two green sparks it would make, footless and hovering,
before the light hit it.
Chera Hammons is a graduate of the MFA in Creative Writing program at Goddard College. Her work has recently appeared or is forthcoming in Rattle, Beloit Poetry Journal, Connotation Press, and Tar River, among others. Her chapbook Amaranthine Hour is available through Jacar Press. She currently resides in Amarillo, TX.