Forgotten Autumn

I had forgotten autumn here:

how cottonwoods lighten, first, then yellow

how the canyon itself goldens slowly:

reeds and grasses, cattails

squawbush, serviceberry.

Gambel oaks tremble, verging on red,

colors climb the slopes.

Frothy blooms frost the wild clematis,

willows drop curling yellow leaves.

All has gone chartreuse.

Early mid-September sun gilds

even weedy alyssum gone to seed,

a silver sheen in swaths

among white rocks.

A flock of pinyon jays

leaves a treetop far upstream;

laughing and cackling

they flies downstream,

two dozen blue and chattering birds

in tight formation,

following the canyon’s curves

not stopping, not alighting,

they continue in flight

as far as I can follow

then vanish round

the last curve I can see,

still squawking.

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