The moment before the rain came in, before
the leaves loosened their grip, before the wind
stripped the branches. Before the cold
settled into our bones. The little girl in the lavender dress
didn’t believe in any of it—she would not put on her jacket.
She had not yet run down the kite hill, not yet tripped
and fallen. She might not have fallen after all;
I didn’t wait to see. The roses
had not yet curled and blackened in the first frost.
The couple who had been sleeping under the trees
at the foot of the kite hill
had not yet found warmer beds.
We had not yet gone to the polls, stopping on our way to work
or coming home late after standing in line.
We wanted it to be over, those endless conversations.
At night, after we voted, some of us checked our phones at 3 a.m.
or we heard the newspaper hitting the front door at 5 when it was still dark
and we looked into the headlines as if they were a mirror.