Season of Death
hung over the fog like skunk juice,
mulberries heavy and thick,
ripening into black, its leaves
browning to the death hues of autumn.
What was left was left,
what remained began to smell,
everywhere an ending for one species
and a feast for another.
We refused what was in front of us,
pushed back from the table full
and never noticed the drought over the mountain--
it did not pertain to where we were,
water deep and easily cleaned,
the stores full of themselves:
money meant nothing
when it no longer mattered.
Summer ended before its time,
we watched it drain itself clear,
bided our time like fugitives,
and wandered into the spray.
Michael H. Brownstein has been widely published throughout the small and literary presses. His work has appeared in The Cafe Review, American Letters and Commentary, Skidrow Penthouse, Xavier Review, Hotel Amerika, Free Lunch, Meridian Anthology of Contemporary Poetry, The Pacific Review, Poetrysuperhighway.com and others. In addition, he has nine poetry chapbooks including The Shooting Gallery (Samidat Press, 1987), Poems from the Body Bag (Ommation Press, 1988), A Period of Trees (Snark Press, 2004), What Stone Is (Fractal Edge Press, 2005), I Was a Teacher Once (Ten Page Press, 2011), Firestorm: A Rendering of Torah (Camel Saloon Press, 2012) and The Katy Trail, Mid-Missouri, 100F Outside and Other Poems (Kind of a Hurricane Press, 2012). He is the editor of First Poems from Viet Nam (2011). Brownstein taught elementary school in Chicago's inner city (he is now retired), but he continues to study authentic African instruments, conducts grant-writing workshops for educators, designs websites and records performance and music pieces with grants from the City of Chicago's Department of Cultural Affairs, the Oppenheimer Foundation, BP Leadership Grants, and others.