It's autumn in New York.
It's cool and crisp
and the sun is shining
for the first time in a week.
The trees are depositing
their dead leaves everywhere,
and I know pretty soon
we're going to have to
haul out our rakes.
As much as I love fall,
that's a task I could live without.

The sound of an ice cream truck
startles me from my reverie.
It's not summer anymore;
I know that even though
this crazy year
of Covid and quarantines
has played havoc with my
biological timeline.
It's Halloween,
even though there
don't seem to be any
trick or treaters
knocking on my door,
and the annual slaughter of forests
so that political flyers
can overflow my mailbox
has been going on for weeks now.

But there it is again—the silly jingle
that will probably be my ear worm
for the rest of the night,
and I am thinking of ice cream cones
melting in the summer sun,
and trying to lick their gooey sweetness
faster than they can cover my hand.
It's a race against time.
And isn't that life in a nutshell--
Racing to enjoy the sublime
before it's gone instead
of savoring it, sticky drips and all?

Like squirrels hoarding nuts for winter,
we worry for the future
that may never come.
The air is filled with wood smoke
from my neighbor's fireplace.
I look at the carpet of dead leaves
that will be buried under winter snow
before too much time passes,
thinking I would dearly love
a dripping ice cream cone.

Elise Skidmore ©2020

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