The Heat of Autumn- Jane Hirshfield 

The heat of autumn 

is different from the heat of summer.   

One ripens apples, the other turns them to cider.   

One is a dock you walk out on,   

the other the spine of a thin swimming horse 

and the river each day a full measure colder.   

A man with cancer leaves his wife for his lover. 

Before he goes she straightens his belts in the closet,   

rearranges the socks and sweaters inside the dresser 

by color. That’s autumn heat: 

her hand placing silver buckles with silver,   

gold buckles with gold, setting each   

on the hook it belongs on in a closet soon to be empty,   

and calling it pleasure.


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