November, Before the Morning After

Bare and broken branches litter the ground
and the smell of heavy, wet and earth hangs overhead.
Small girls in flannel nightshirts are crowned
by halos of sweat-damp curls as they dream in bed.
A dying autumn breeze now slips through the forest,
through the wind-whipped oaks and elms and pine,
and scatters leaves across the pavement before us
as you slip your cool, dry hand into mine.
A rumble of thunder reaches from three miles away
and dampens the cackling caw of a blue-black crow,
lending to this mood that our words fail to convey
on our night walk toward a washed-raw tomorrow.
    The jack-o’-lantern grins have long wilted and curled
    and a low creeping fog has enveloped the world.

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