after Helen Hunt Jackson’s “November”
This is the beguiling month when
autumn days betray my summer lusts,
when draping raiment falls rich
and red from naked shoulders,
clings wet to breast and hip—
when carnal knowledge of coming
frost raises sensile, excited flesh
and longing springs with golden ardor.
A rest; and then return to the vernal,
a leap and surge of fertile potency.
Those are the months when summer’s flush
recalls the treachery of wintrous death.