She Paints the Town
The Old Year knows how to dress
for the last act. She has dyed her hair–
henna streaks on straw-brown grass,
crowned herself with milkweed feathers,
powdered her cheeks with goldenrod dust.
She wears a boa of scarlet sumac and orange bittersweet
around her wrinkled neck. Tufts of purple asters
are stuffed between her cracking toes.
She paints the town purple with wine and ochre
with mustard weed, brush strokes
twig and bramble rough across disappearing ground.
As night comes on the note is blue: trumpets
of high flying geese, snare-drum raindrops on the roof.
She is celebrating passions past: blossoms
on lips, flowing of sap, sweet fullness of fruit,
nights heavy with pollen, sweat and pain.
But oh… I do not think, she wishes
to be a springtime budding girl again
with wispy hopes and fledgling plans.
For I would not trade this grand wild departure
for all the dreams of youth.
Judith Edelstein says having a November birthday affects how she views beginnings and endings. It’s not all black and white. “She Paints the Town” was previously published in Edelstein’s limited edition chapbook, Leaving Kansas.