Last Day of Summer

Yours is the day, yours also the night;
   you established the luminaries and the sun.
You have fixed all the bounds of the earth;
   you made summer and winter.
— Psalm 74:16-17

It is time to gather
the green tomatoes,
even as the day and night are at equinox.
Gourds lie drunkenly in the fields.
The crows exult in thuggery
as they hog the birdfeeders, the jays
cursing them with frat-boy fluency.
Strange migrants, Nashville warblers, phoebes, and vireos,
belly up like tourists in a foreign pub,
nervously observing the commotion,
in the basement of the pecking order.

Whether you call it
haying season
or hay-fever season
reveals your real relationship to the land:
as giver or nuisance.

After years of living in a maze of suburban
lawns crowding haphazardly against each other
like mah-jongg tiles midgame, we now live
where folks like this farmer own tractors unironically,
faded rust colored, almost salmon pink
International Harvesters tilting and
heeling, sailboats in a sea of grass. He’s dragging
a wheel rake behind him, peering over his shoulder
in Half Lord of Fishes pose, the farmer-yogi sagely
trails windrows behind, a serpent effigy mound,
ceremoniously marking the celestial season
transition to equinox
after darkfall.

There’s a sweet clean fragrance of the dew
vaporizing in the heat
as the grass is tedded rather than tended.
Let the sun do his work,
this final summer sun
in all faithfulness. Summer lingers
until earth turn away at the coming twilight.

The last day of summer is not yet over,
despite the barbarism of storefronts
full of sweaters, cinnamon, skeletons, even Santas. It is
a precious time of turning from green to gold,
of tending to harvest, of lining up 

what has been received:
this last summer sunset:
with gratitude and grace.

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