It Was November Then

by Amy Bailey

I catch the shape of the table lamp
and its light mirrored
in the blackened television screen
and I’m jarred back to a long ago lamp in a long ago room
when the dog turns one full circle, as dogs do,
as I approach the door to let her in out of the drizzle.

The piney smell rises from the ground.
Matted needles steep beneath puddles
that reflect the grey above. Distant wood smoke edges in
from beyond the city’s limits
as old timers in the county burn their leaves and debris
in backyard bonfires, orange glows against their faces.
Then the sun begins to set behind the shroud of dreary clouds
and casts a sheen of dim yellow over the gold left dwindling on trees
and bathes houses to the east in an eerie, diffused spotlight.

Like the time you drove me home
and said the green sweater I wore,
(itchy around the collar,
pilled under the arms)
brought out the green in my eyes.
Like that was no big deal
and you said those sorts of things all the time.

That sweater caught the scent of smoke and pine,
held it in the fibers,
and when I walk through this room
and catch the light just right at the close of day
I can still breathe it in.

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