On Impact - James Lillefors

The late-October wind carries a
cedary scent of woodsmoke tonight.
I pause to breathe it in.
Something is coming.
A cold truth clings to the darkness,
leaves shiver brittlely across the unlit landscape.

There are things to do,
and not as much time.
But time enough to wonder.
These are not my woods,
though I want to know them.
I want to know what lives here,
and what is coming.

I search for a column of smoke
among the trees but see only
my breath, turning to mist
on impact. I’ve lived several lives
already, and have this one left. I go on.
Grateful: They say we “gain” an hour
on Sunday. And I’ve decided
I’m going to be here when it happens.
This year, I want to witness the old man
work his trick under cover of darkness,

and savor the gift of an hour gained
– even if it be a false hour,
even knowing the trickster will return
in spring, as we’re sleeping, to take it back.
            Here and gone, breath on glass.

James Lilliefors was born in Los Angeles and grew up in the Washington, D.C. area. Curiosity (and lack of other options) led him to a career in journalism, during which he has covered everything from politics and business to art to professional boxing (he’s the former boxing correspondent for The Cable Guide magazine). He was also the founding editor of two newspapers in Maryland and has written several novels. Since undergoing heart surgery recently, he has been focused on poetry. His writing has appeared in Ploughshares, The Washington Post, The Hooghly Review, Door Is A Jar, The Miami Herald, Anti-Heroin Chic, and many other places. He currently lives with his family in South Florida.