Cold Front

The New England asters must have called
this cold air down. Maybe they needed
to feel more Fallish, draping over
the driveway and our neighbor’s
make-shift fence. After all, most of
the other perennials have bloomed
and faded, shedding dry seeds
like leaves, and here are the asters,
in their showy blues and pinks.

Or maybe they grew tired of bearing
the weight of slowed-down
bumblebees—if you stay too late,
the asters might say, you’ll freeze.

October’s chill has stilled the air,
the insect, the stalk. If only those
coquettish asters could talk.

—Sandy Stark, Madison, WI