What We Have

by Paul J. Willis

There are still fall colors here, even in Santa Barbara:
the bright crimson of toyon berries, clustered
against the paling sky, the chartreuse mottling
of sycamore leaves and yellowing rust of bay,

of laurel. Along each path, bleached memories
of poison oak, a hardening of its arteries
while tender grass appears behind
November rains. And in the high folds of the ridge,

well above the waterfalls and already hidden
from the sea, the inland bloom of cottonwoods,
holding up their blazing hands
and giving all they owe to the wind.

—from Rosing from the Dead

Poem of the Month: November 2013

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