Early October

Donna Isaac

An orange-tinged finch brings friends
to the feeder, four others like bright candles
alighting near potted herbs and green onions.
They are my only guests lately.

I’ve boxed up the good china, candlesticks,
given away an ice cream maker, a bread machine,
thumbed through myriad cookbooks.

Tonight it’s catfish fingers and fried green tomatoes,
what’s in the freezer, what needs to be used.

Sometimes we gather in parks, weather permitting,
by the Mississippi, in backyards, distancing,
masks at the ready. We reminisce about wood-paneled
steakhouses, dinner parties with cloth napkins,
Barolos, something flambéed

We miss greetings, hugs, full-out guffaws.

We miss poetry readings, the theater, live music.

We settle for PBS, Kraft mac and cheese,
Zoom screens like Brady Bunch boxes.

In the sky, finches fly.

Sugar maples are shockingly red.

We can’t speculate about what’s next on our doorstep.


About Donna Isaac
Poet Donna Isaac is a teaching artist and organizer of community readings (Literary Lights) and workshops through Cracked Walnut of the League of MN Poets. She holds degrees from James Madison University, the University of Minnesota, and Hamline University. Published poetry work includes Footfalls  (Pocahontas Press); Tommy (Red Dragonfly Press); Holy Comforter  (Red Bird Chapbooks); and Persistence of Vision  (Finishing Line Press). Her work also appears in journals such as The Saint Paul Almanac and The Penn Review.


Early October Copyright © 2021 by Donna Isaac. All Rights Reserved.

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