First Frost (For Grace)

By John Delonas

The stalks are laced
Into unfinished baskets,
Blued by the morning ice;
Bereft of the seed heads
That mud or mice now store--
For they are nowhere to be seen.

The stalks are plowed
Into wet, leather-whipped straw
By the catching, sodden boots
Of the food gatherers
Who leave the pasture empty,
Even as the fretted stalks half rise
To meet the autumn sun.

Her restless spirit,
Like once-waving wheat,
Lies matted into frosty fodder,
And nowhere are the grain heads
To be seen;
Yet the icy jeweled setting
Makes the cellulose stalks more golden,
More golden
Than this untimely ice harvest
Should allow.

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