John Palen

Hard frost last night.
I cut ripened squash from vines,
leaving an inch of stem.
We’ll bake them this winter,
scoop out the flesh, mash it
with butter, ginger, grated orange and cream.
I’ll remember you in the kitchen, time after time,
making tapioca to say you’re sorry.

Daylight lost, one thing yet to do.
Hand over hand, I haul in the dead vines
from where they ran far into the corn.
They are heavy with unusable green fruit
that catch and hang up on the dry cornstalks
every two to three feet,

and when I yank them loose and drag them in
they jolt over the rough ground
like all the lies you told us,
lie after lie after lie.