Early autumn light

Dawn reaches up over the horizon
and strikes the world alive with the earth-tones
of autumn. Then, like the phoenix, the trees burst into flame,
and the sky torches with color; it is the beginning of the end.
Inkblots of geese smudge the sky
in a ragged arrow pointing south. The scent
of damp harvest warming in the sun is tossed about
by careless gusts. The maples throw their shadows to the ground
and tear a frayed adge of darkness into crimson light,
unraveling the brocade of the season until it is nothing
but bare threads of color strung out like banners in the wind.
It is time to meander down the gravel path
strewn with loose-blowing leaves
and to watch the clouds come undone, like the last late-blooming rose
that scatters its petals to the ground.