Indian summer

The half-converted sugar maples stand
Awaiting orders to break into flame.
For now, they are half-glory and half-shame—
And always straining to hear the command.
October looms. The air should be cold steel
Against bare skin. Instead, it’s dense
With sweat and wool held, for now, in suspense,
As the world longs for autumn’s great repeal.
But what’s the hurry? When at last it comes,
It can’t last long. Autumn will fall, I know,
To winter, and, in falling, strip the world
Of this brightness. There’s beauty, too, in snow,
But let’s slow down. Enjoy the final curl
Of heat, before winter straightens the plumb.