Eve on the Edge

I thought it was leaves taking flight, flock of
The last leaves, in fact, beech perhaps, they hang on too long, or aspen,
Yellow like that, sweep and begin to plunge, the last hope
Of the tree, taken by Thanksgiving’s wind, because that’s the way the wind is,
Willful like that, cruel. And they began, inevitably, to fall, ultimately and always
To fall, to settle and dim under the rain the thunder foretold. The poor scattered and gray
Things would be indistinguishable from earth, and I thought
Yes, this is the way things go. I knew things
Then, how the world worked, my legs hanging over the precipice, the rock hard
Under me, the earth carved away, nothing under my feet
But wind. All things pass, and dull in the passing, nothing is as bright for as long
As the heart wants, everything
Leaves. Every one. But I tell you, as I watched, as I
Watched the leaves they became before my eyes: Goldfinch, the last of summer,
Rose and turned and scattered like risen leaves and this was the beginning, the beginning
Of some great migration or the last summer tale told wildly
Flung wildly into the wind, turning over the Kaaterskill. I know
Nothing. Nothing.

from Perpetual Motion. First published in Cream City Review, 2009. (Perpetual Motion is available from The Word Works:http://wordworksdc.com/books2.html#perpetual.)
Marilyn McCabe’s book of poetry Perpetual Motion was chosen by judge Gray Jacobik to be published as part of the Hilary Tham Capital Collection by The Word Works in 2012, and her chapbook Rugged Means of Grace was published by Finishing Line Press, 2011.

Three chapbooks produced in collaboration with poets Mary Sanders Shartle and Elaine Handley were awarded best poetry book prizes in 2006, 2007 and 2010 by the Adirondack Center for Writing. She earned an MFA in poetry at New England College.