It’s odd to have a separate month. It
escapes the year, it is not only cold, it is warm
and loving like a death grip on a willing knee. The
Indians have a name for it, they call it:
“Summer!” The tepees shake in the blast like roosters
at dawn. Everything is special to them,
the colorful ones.
Somehow the housewife does not seem gentle.
Is she angry because her husband likes October?
Is it snow bleeds softly from her shoes?
The nest eggs have captured her,
but April rises from her bed.
“The beggars are upon us!” cried Chester.
Three strangers appeared at the door, demanding ribbons.
The October wind . . . nests
Why do I think October is beautiful?
It is not, is not beautiful.
                                                  But then
what is there to hold one’s interest
between the various drifts of a day’s
work, but to search out the differences
                                          the window and grate—
but it is not, is not
I think your face is beautiful, the way it is
close to my face, and I think you are the real
October with your transparence and the stone
of your words as they pass, as I do not hear them.

Bill Berkson, "October" from Portrait and Dream: New and Selected Poems. Copyright © 2009 by Bill Berkson.  Reprinted by permission of Coffee House Press.
Source: Portrait and Dream: New and Selected Poems (Coffee House Press, 2009)
More Poems by Bill Berkson