Yellow cottonwood rain

on waves of radio static
come warnings of fall’s first frost
closets turn out wool and rain gear
garages swap snow tires
and the sharp hiss of steel studs
on pavement slice through the night

dawn brings with daylight
smell of foliage dying
and yellow cottonwood
rain

clouds do occasionally part
once every few weeks
and in the mountains
(so near yet so invisible
this time of year)
winter’s early work
is revealed

on the city bus
making the big bend
in the road where
the land opens up
and wetlands, flooded
at high tide have turned brown
where just last week
rye grass stood tall
moving in golden waves,
an old man says
to another
“just don’t let it snow
like last year, please God”
and in reply
“you said it, for sure, sir”

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