It smells like a dog

barking in the dark

to see his breath

and prove to neighbours


he is there. So we shutter

our windows, hide our hands

in gloves, seek an orchard,

a covered bridge, anything


to mark the season for where it is —

to say, I know where I live,

the time of day, the calendar month

and I can gut a pumpkin, smell leaves


crisp as corn and drying, taste cold

metal sharp and sure as an apple

heart about to flip and fall in love

before the leaves dissolve under frost.


First published on The Syllabary, 2010.