Maihan Phan

Because I Could Not Stop for Death

Because I could not stop for Death,
Death stopped for me.
We meet time and time again
At the hour which –
Like the owl soars through darkened skies –
Death is most complacent.

We gamble often,
Bouncing balls of fortune
Mixing with rolling dice
And tossed cards.
A falcon swoops above, taunting –

I win my prize
And take it, too.
I snatch my clients from Death
And bring melody to their limp hearts,
I heal the wounds (scrapes, cuts too)
Left by Death’s clumsy touch.

Death is eternal, a stoic
Cruel force of reckoning.
But Death is weak to fun and variety
Anything to break its immortal monotony.
I cheat Death daily
And earn my keep. 

To Autumn

Autumn doesn’t exist in California.
Sure the time changes
And the weather chills
And some leaves begin to fall

But Autumn is dry leaves twisting,
Twirling in tornado spirals
Smacking faces, if you’re not careful
In good old sunny California.

Autumn is dry heat warming cheeks,
Biting wind snapping again,
Perfect piles of parched leaves,
Weather still camping in the 70s.

Autumn is multicolored trees,
Frigid air, a stiff stranger
Big scarves swallowing skin,
Pumpkin spice and everything nice

But in Southern California,
Autumn is running for refuge,
Crowded classroom full to the brim
With students, disgruntled hands
Picking leaves from lunch trays
For the third time this week.

Mr. Lyne grumbles beside,
Raising a hand in acquiescence.
“I really hate the wind.”

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