You walk the streets among the gathering debris,
the detritus of summer underfoot.
It crackles brittlely with every step.
The neighbors in the house next door are readying
for fall: the blue steps leading down
into their drained white swimming pool. Their daughter
Emily starts preschool in a few days. Nick,
their son, will be attending kindergarten.
In the slow, inexorable diminution of the year,
you see your breath before you like chastisement:
it is all you have produced. Now, standing
at the edge of summer's playing field,
you see that last night's rains
have washed the chalk-marked lines away.
A solitary dog runs unattended to its furthest edge.
At home again, you sit and watch the football game
on t.v., looking up from time to time
as though expecting that a child might toddle in the room.
Your friends know what they're doing with their lives.