Autumn in the City (One Hundred Years)

The air is thick with the burning islands.
I wake in the morning to a dry throat.
Have you seen the burning islands? Have you
watched their orange leaves aflame
in the early days of autumn? I should
show you sometime.

I want to keep this place, these
bowerlike willows and beards of lichen,
long untrimmed.
One hundred years is not enough time; it will
only grow deeper in cracked trunks.
The river (you remember?) will only carve deeper, grow wider.
But I myself will not see Summer.

My father’s father spoke to me,
as I speak with you now.
He told me of strange forests and wide spaces.
I have forgotten these things as I have
lost what I have taught you, I know only
two or three things with certainty:
My skin feels now, as though it can not hold,
and my bones feel now, as they always have,
that love is what will keep us whole.

The air has been thick. I send this to you
in what will surely be the August of your days,
that you would remember to love.
There is fire in the mountains,
an apocalypse of tongues that chase
the living ahead of their anger, but
this will not kill me.

There is a beast in the forests
that surround my home. It was made
by the devil of our own ingenuity.
It stalks above
me in my dreams, in the branches of trees,
but this is just a passing thing, it
will not be my end.

Do you understand?
“unto the third and fourth generation”, but
generation is the province of love.
It is this that set me here (and those
that follow in my line), and it is
love that soon will take me,
will finally press my eyelids shut.