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September 1st
By Ronald Tobey

eighteen rubber wheels of tractor-trailer freight trucks
sing as enthusiastically as a West Virginia country Baptist choir
on the concrete lanes of the I64
their twelve-cylinder diesel engines thrumming the bass line
climb west up the mile-long five percent Dawson grade
red caution lights blinking
two miles of cattle farm fields away
Angus herds bellow already for hay
this crisp Autumn daybreak

an anxious red headed woodpecker
under the eaves
earnestly taps a wall log of our forest cabin
I wonder if insecticide on the logs harm it

calico barn cat sharpens her claws on porch planks
close to the bird feeding station

{ brightly colored male cardinals, plain female cardinals with red decoration, mourning doves,
{ sparrows, red-headed woodpeckers, pigeons, ruby-throated hummingbirds,
{ goldfinches, field orioles, blue jays, house finches, starlings, downy woodpeckers


I anticipate torn bird wings on the barn floor

on our driveway’s shoulder
my black canoe Labrador barks into the woods
a White-tailed doe brown with black trim
lighter brown than last year
a new buck in the neighborhood perhaps
with fawn walks up from the creek
blending among brush bracken and gold grass 

the yellow school bus brakes screech
first stop on the route at the turn onto the hollow’s gravel road
three bundled children climb three steps
tumble into cold seats return to sleep
second cutting done summer recess over

hot double-chocolate flavored coffee
steams on the dining room table in a painted mug
Spode reproduction of a field dog Woodland scene
biscotti rest on a bread plate
I watch for the first burst of sun over the ridge
where green foliage hangs on
shrinking shadows from valley bottom

stars blink out in the faint pink sky
an encouraging cancer checkup
followed by a suspiciously vicious flu
exhaustion haunts my muscles
Farmers Almanac predicts a cold hard Winter
you arrive smiling in pink pajamas from the bedroom
remark softly the morning’s hushed preview of Fall
and “Rosh Hashanah is next week”

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