As the future ripens in the past…

a terrible festival of dead leaves—Anna Akhmatova


You will promise me a carnival complete with hopeless games

In all probability, neither of us will win any prizes


I will promise you a lot of nothing, a long walk by a river

that burns like the Delaware did when I was a child


The news will report on the fires that keep the capitol awake

You will reassure me that soon militia members will


return home to watch porn and jack off

I will not dispute your hopeful preparations for happiness


My mother expected all the dead leaves to compost into habitat

so I will promise you calla lilies and purple irises