SETTLING IN

by Ellen McNeal
South Carolina, USA



Soon it will be time to consider socks:
    the air is misting, cool like Maine;
        birds begin their single-minded flight.

We say they dare not mock an autumn equinox,
    even here in Carolina, dare not linger
        through October.

Toes and wing tips know November's dry lips
    crack and curl; that after harvest,
        gunshots punctuate savannahs.

Clumps of cattails hang their long necks swamp side.
    And I consider socks. Fold them into pairs;
        each one, a mate.

We talk of snow back North,
    flocks of Canada geese, warm feet: minutiae.
        And take our rest, count the heart's slow release.

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