Consider the lilies of the field,
how they grow
beyond their flowering, no longer
beautiful to our eyes. Consider
the brittle-petalled, black
centers of the black-eyed Susans,
waving like pom-poms
in the cold wind. There’s a joy in it,
the joy of everything
that dances around it,
the milkweeds dangling their old,
goose-bumpy pods,
the Queen Anne’s Lace
lifting the lacy purses
they have woven
from their blossoms. How could we
have overlooked the beauty
of the tiny, bristled stars
they now carry, or the hope,
among the brown clovers,
of the late bloomers, already living
the dream of their return?
Consider the dream
of the bloomers and of the wind-
torn blackberry bushes
holding out their stick fingers
that the birds have picked
clean. Consider the frosted heads
of the goldenrods
bending down to the ground,
and the milkweeds standing
straight up, giving themselves away.

Hear Wes McNair read this poem.