On Perishing

Pacing the garden,
waiting for dusk.
We’re still unmarred
by our ordinary joy,

the asphalt wall
retaining heat.
A canticle round
from the apple trees,
picked by fat jays
who leap, squabble,
ousting burnt leaves
in perfect chorus.

Still the age
when change is held
by a flush of colored light:
the vibrant sign

in the orchard;
a deepening line that I love
beside your mouth;
the early creases

on my body. Touch
in a fierce horizon,
and the light itself
a cloudbank, scrim

and startled refraction.
A sort of kindness
in how brief it is,
the searing

of this first season.
A spider curls its filament
in the arbor. We settle,
shift, ignite.

-Nina Palisano