Another Reluctance

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Chestnuts fell in the charred season,
Fell finally, finding room
In air to open their old cases
So they gleam out from the gold leaves,
In the dusk now, where they dropped down.

I go watch them, waiting for winter,
Their husks open and holding on.
Those rusted rims are rigid=hard
And cling clean to the clear brown,

And the fall sun sinks soon,
And the day draws to its dark end,
.and the feet give up the gray walk,
no longer lingering, light gone,
and I am here and do not go home.

Hollow gifts to cold children:
The chestnuts they hid in small caches
Have gone hollow, their gleam gone,
Their grain gone, and the children are home.

© Annie Finch