First Frost

by Carol Casey

“Whose woods these are I think I know”-Robert Frost

But these are hardly woods anymore
patches of farmland adrift in urban obesity
Even so, first Frost is always a surprise
The hint of death spread black and white
in grade four remembering
the cherished Catholic president
a year after he went to sleep
dark and deep, promises not kept
(when classes were stopped and the
whole school stood up and prayed:
Hail Mary, let him live . . .
over and over into the silence)

First frost always comes too soon
like the look in your eyes as you turn away
and so many miles of snow to go
hitting the lowest areas first
biting the balm from the air.