Talk at the End of Summer

All my three offspring in town for the last
of August, we potluck into the dusk
on the weathered deck, big Japanese maple
leaning its reddened breeze-shivered leaves
and samaras over us as if to eavesdrop.

Low in the plum-purple southeast, Saturn
grants us an audience. The kids, grown
and partnered, talk of not having kids—no
little round mouths irresistibly calling
for more rice or milk than there is, no new
throats in the drought, and no pink lungs
panting for oxygen while it runs out.

I see the loose ends of my lineage, bloomless
stems, sprouts swept useless across clay
hardpan—our uncanny design gone
fruitless. There won’t be a miracle
miniature hand come to clutch my thumb, no
pair of womb-fresh wide eyes ushering
a jaundiced old one back into love’s home.

So let it be these young, whose genes
have swum eons on a rough tide of births
wanted and not. Let Saturn see these
thoughtful ones, faces dusky as the rose
petals fallen along the fence, eyes casting
moon-like light before moonrise, lips
reposed between soft-spoken reflections….

Let my awe show as these once little ones
discuss the loss of their intricate code.
Will Saturn bless them? Can these dangling
seed-wings hear? Does anything earthly
remember? I’m kissing each child goodnight.