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When October Comes

When October Comes

I know all the roads that lead into town,

Even after these years away.

The way I find them here

In the shadows of my old hopes still,

In the unexpected gifts of earlier days,

In the taste of some things left in the air

Where so much has become once.

Once we caught twelve pigmy rattlers

In and around a sandstone butte.

Once we hunted arrowheads with an old woman

Who could name all our mountains.

Once we shared a river camp with an old man

Who came west in a wagon.

I keep them in a loneliness

And in times we could never save.

I look for them in those places

That were never ours alone.

The bowling alley. The dump road. The schools.

Our private lives hid among those open doors.

What will we do, I ask, without knowing

The what or the how anymore.

Maybe this is why I ride in silence now,

During these days and mostly this way

When watching the streetlights flash

As if they could say something else

Of why we come and go, we come and go.