winter is primping
in the wings

beneath her booted feet
a troop of dillydallying leaves
caught in the wind scutter
like deserters down city streets

some lie packed in ugly
pyramidic mounds that border
neighborhood sidewalks
dying soldiers waiting
for trucks to cart them away

winter is blowing
into her hands

from cold unblinking eyes
she handcombs wisps of
silver hair and
all around her we brace ourselves
in the tremble of season change

we bury ourselves in defensive dress
for the tactless wave of her wand
the coolness with which
like a fickle lover
she dismisses fall

— Salvatore Buttaci