How the woods burn
this afternoon, but not
so brightly as they did
when we were children.

Pan with his titian hair
cherry cheeks & those
crescents—not yet horns—
just barely bursting from head.

How he loved the scarce
swallowtail & plain tiger
landing in shades of saffron
& coral on his tad fingers.

Now we have all grown.
Forest smolders grape & green,
simmers copper & bronze
with morel & porcini.

Sky still hovers but drapes
itself in cornflower, not
cobalt, sun no longer blasts
but sneaks between pine & poplar.

What have we to hold onto
that will not fade?  Remember
dancing in moon, legs
covered in cardinal pulp

soles smeared violet, kicked
up under a crescent so keen
its ends dripped with the blood
of stars—their dying lights.

But perhaps we should leave
an older yet still lusty Pan
to tell those tales lest we
be deemed too fervent

with our moon-honed, nectar-
loosened tongues.

~title based on Anne Carson’s translation of Sappho, If Not, Winter (fragment 18)