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The Heat of Autumn

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The heat of autumn
is different from the heat of summer.   
One ripens apples, the other turns them to cider.   
One is a dock you walk out on,   
the other the spine of a thin swimming horse
and the river each day a full measure colder.   
A man with cancer leaves his wife for his lover.
Before he goes she straightens his belts in the closet,   
rearranges the socks and sweaters inside the dresser
by color. That’s autumn heat:
her hand placing silver buckles with silver,   
gold buckles with gold, setting each   
on the hook it belongs on in a closet soon to be empty,   
and calling it pleasure.

Jane Hirshfield, "The Heat of Autumn" from After. Copyright © 2006 by Jane Hirshfield.  Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers Inc.
Source: After (HarperCollins Publishers Inc, 2006)
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The Heat of Autumn

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