The Beatrice Ravenel Prize
Late Autumn marks our passage into town
along this river road. We stopped the car
and ran into a maple grove to grasp
an awkward branch and pull its patchwork down.
But nearer to our prize, the vision dimmed
and chills of something winter dulled the scene;
the leaves we clutched among the rustling boughs
were spotted black and torn by age and wind.
The road now seems much longer, nights are cold.
I lost myself in silence when you called
this winter worse than others—only saw
the rustle of a leaf, and you grown old.