November for Beginners

NovemberBy Rita Dove

Snow would be the easy

way out—that softening

sky like a sigh of relief

at finally being allowed

to yield. No dice.

We stack twigs for burning

in glistening patches

but the rain won’t give.

 

So we wait, breeding

mood, making music

of decline. We sit down

in the smell of the past

and rise in a light

that is already leaving.

We ache in secret,

memorizing

 

a gloomy line

or two of German.

When spring comes

we promise to act

the fool. Pour,

rain! Sail, wind,

with your cargo of zithers!

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