Patricia Fargnoli, "Hallows"



This last October day I walk into the burnished world,
copper and gold held by frost and a cold sun,
into light brilliant enough that my eyes half-close
against it and then open again to let the splendor in.
Crisped leaves crackle underfoot and overhead
clouds make the sky a work of art,
their white/dark scrambling across the chaliced blue.
These are the days when, after a dark summer,
I come alive again, feel tears in my eyes,
joy in my throat that wants to call out
to the world to hold on now, just now
at the end of harvest and before the snows come
like white sheep out of the long barns,
the lambs of spring and summer gone from the fields,
the cornstalks cut down, root vegetables and kale
all that is left of the waning harvest.
It is now that your death begins to ease
against the ongoingness of life,
its persistence beyond the walls I’d built
of solitude and grief. Your absence, a quieter urging
as if I might almost believe finally in the spirit—
although there is still no answer from you
when I ask for one. Tonight, it is said, the veil thins,
the dead may try for connection.
A friend says that if, after death,
the loved one doesn’t come with some message,
it is the fault of the receiver who cannot hear
him calling.  Before you died, when I couldn’t
find my way to go to see you, you told me you
knew I was close to you. I will listen hard for you.
I am close to you still even in these lightening
days when half-rotten apples pile under the trees,
last asters line the brook, and the double-face
of the sun seems to be a kind of salve or promise.
Every new poem I write reaches toward you.


Patricia Fargnoli is the author of four books of poetry and three chapbooks. Her most recent collection, Winter, was published by Hobblebush Books in 2013. She has published well over 300 poems in anthologies and literary journals. Fargnoli served as the New Hampshire Poet Laureate from 2006 to 2009.