Reading the Signs

Praise to the red foliage in the fall,
giving us a focal point in the midst of branch and brown.
The bittersweet, holly, and hawthorn pendulous on vine
and tree, studding the fading green leaves—
the earliest of these carnelian calling cards,
the smooth sumac, edging the woods of trembling
aspen, willow, and birch. Later we exult at the red maple,
the pin oak that awaken our autumnal reverie,
shaking and waving, letting loose their leaves,
one at a time, flags floating and riding the breeze,
subdued by cold rains that create puddles
dotted with spinning scarlet sails.
Red flames up passion, energy, joy, and love,
and when the brightness gives way to vapidness,
we will remember the sacred fire in our collective memories
and rejoice that it will return as comets beyond the moon.

-Donna Isaac

Poet and retired English/writing professor Donna Isaac published two poetry chapbooks, Holy Comforter (Red Bird Chapbooks) and Tommy  (Red Dragonfly Press). She is working on a poetic memoir about growing up in the Appalachians and has recently had poems featured in Pine Mountain Sand & GravelCrosswinds Poetry Journal,  and The St. Paul Almanac.