We catch up on old songs while raking leaf-pressed leaves. Steel tines scrape the earth, yank headphones out of wind-sore ears. Soon it will be a long time before we see ground again. Let’s do something dirty and kiss the must for luck. Are we of another time? Nah, there’s more out there like us, they just don’t make much noise. Well, anyway, something’s got me sentimental tonight. (Or—something’s got me scared) We bake snickerdoodles while wearing wool plaid robes, steel spoon scraping eggy steel bowl, discovering it’s a steelpan drum. Soon it’ll be coming down hard and there won’t be school tomorrow. Do you hear that song? I only hear dough drying hard to the cuff of my faded flannel sleeve. Well, listen, I hear a song I used to play when things got loud:

She used to work in a diner,

Never saw a woman look finer…

See, it’s Harvest Moon! I told you I know that strum. Unknown Legend drops me every time. And I heard somewhere old Neil’s living in a teepee with Daryl Hannah. They’re making due with what they got, out in California. Someday we’ll know what it’s like to make due with so much. Did I already tell you the deer took all the apples?

I used to order just to watch her float across the floor.

When did that song come out? Has it really been that long? Anyway, it sure can get you through some stuff. Like frogs singing in vernal ponds. Nights so loud we can’t hear what our pan’s got frying. Soon tadpoles will have that pond thick & black with tails. Let’s put some in a jar. Let’s finish up this kitchen and do this again tomorrow.

Soon it’ll be a slow walk to the mailbox, kicking stones, harmonica on the front porch and the last slow hand strumming afternoons. Cornfield winds will whisk a wire brush across a cookie bowl drum and Willa Cather will be hiding out there in last year’s leaf pile again. Taking field notes on dustbowl days. Our pine & ash windbreak is still her secret hiding place.

Did I tell you the truck didn’t start this morning? And it gets dark so early now. The geese are headed south again and what if the phones go out? Let’s put this on repeat, this record of songs & robes. Before snow jams up our memories and we have trouble finding roads.

You know, sometimes I ask that goddamn wind if there’s another one out there like us, and I swear sometimes it answers. A gust of Joni sweeps through this one-chair porch singing:

            All I ever wanted was just to come in from the cold.


Bradley David’s poetry, fiction, and essays appear in Terrain, Plainsongs, Exacting Clam, Stone of Madness, Torrey House Press, Milk & Cake Press, and others. New work is forthcoming in Allium, Fruit Journal, and Simple Machines. His work can be found at linktr.ee/bradleydavid. On Twitter @strangecamera.