Autumn Afternoon

You were sitting near the old pecan tree, frozen in your tail’s long shadow.  I didn’t see you until I crossed the busy street and invaded your territory. Your claws sank into rough, wrinkled bark, and suddenly you were high above me on a moss-covered bough, posed like the cheap figurine on my grandmother’s shelf. The drowsy sun drooped through the leaves behind you. Your silver-tipped tail scolded the fading light.  Did you fear you’d miss the last sweet nuts remaining under mottled leaves?  I wondered how you’d spot them.  It’s said you’re blind to colors; your sparing eyes wring them out and leave a dull and pallid palette. If this is true, you can never view my crazy quilt of hues—

soft yellows whispering from sassafras leaves,
quivering blues on the grackle’s raised wing,
rutting reds that spew from sunsets like molten lava.

No. Your wanting eyes paint gray-scaled rainbows arcing through whitewashed skies.



by Gary Simmons