September Heat

by Andrew Dufresne
Wild Poetry Forum
Honorable Mention, October 2020
Judged by Jim McGarrah

I woke last night, pebbled in sweat,
a shredded dream hung
casually off a shoulder.
A bobcat’s thought: no longer young,
not old, the feel of life, yet
not life, life becoming older.

This September, warmer than before,
is based on statistics, to keep,
to have something to say, win a bet.
I’ve lost a leopard’s share of sleep
to heat, the power of regret.
Mostly to years, not having more.

The dream wilts, then returns to me
restored, speaks in stutters,
it is a curtain and it flutters
inside a wooden window frame
through which I peer desperately,
tagged with a badger’s name.

The heat, as winter quick descends,
tosses me into a civet’s dread.
I dream to keep, as this September ends,
all Septembers presently and past,
think: The cold speaks to the dead.
A warm September holds me fast.

Well done. This poem speaks to several different concepts and ideas regarding mortality, regret for things not done and the passing of time spent worrying about feeling regret, also the inability to affect time. The rhythm of the lines and the end rhymes have a subtle effect on how the poem makes a reader feel without being obtrusive. It’s a good example of the old Ezra Pound advice that form should follow substance, not replace it. The examples of different animals is interesting and works as a nuanced reminder that even animals feel a simplistic version of mortality and time. --Jim McGarrah