She gathers up what nature's left for us
because our houses touch on hers.
Thin as a broom, she sweeps whatever falls
almost as well as the wind, intent on giving shape
to what is left of autumn. Every year
it works. When winter wakes us to surprise
and weathers in our street, she shovels off
the snow covering up those tracks that lead
to us. We call her the quixotress of trees,
mistress of drifts, as if we could shrug off
the way she puts the neighborhood to rights.
Without our leave, she works against the clock
to shape a street that otherwise would fail
to find itself beneath the swarm of falls.
Spring and summer both, she sprinkles seed to meet
the rain. She plugs the ground around our trees
with fertilizers, waits for russet and gold to happen
to maple, oak, and elm, then she gathers up
her autumn tools and sets to work. While she rakes
she praises the sky for seasons, us for being here.