Bonnie Billet


late August    sky fall blue     summer starts to expire
we eat at a French bistro    blocks from home
I order an omelet        you order French grilled cheese
emblems of privilege      any block in Brooklyn
could be in a foreign country    Costco could be
off a highway in Mexico       deep Brooklyn could be a dream
you can’t remember when you wake up
the dog sits at our feet       barks once
and turns the table over




cherries ended weeks ago     peaches over mid-September
waiting for next year feels like hardship
at twenty I bought my fruit soft       didn’t believe it would ripen
in the kitchen      spent months not working
years traveling     nothing accomplished
but I saw some of the world
the world is spectacular     my recipes
came from a single James Beard paper back     I still think
what’s the least I can do and eat dinner




a few crimson leaves in the tupelo        pokeweed berries
deep purple       bright crimson stems      apples at every stall
in the farmer’s market      cool air opens the senses     everything changes
I don’t want change         life different every moment
just when I settle in    a friend dies    another in the hospital
for the fifth time




Claudastra lutea turns yellow     asters purple
we walk the dog     who tries to sit at ever bench
because yesterday we sat on a bench      he’s opinionated
takes comfort from the sameness of life
from knowing   at every point the direction home
I want to take a turn        walk sun shattered streets
eat food bragging of spice




I’ve lived on top of the hill for 30 years
I walk down under little leaf lindens
Kentucky coffee trees
brownstones either side of the street
I speak to neighbors I’ve known for decades
watch young mothers with strollers     dogs        groceries
fight their way uphill.
I buy bananas      walk to the gym
get on the subway trying to break the hard patterns of my life
I would love to go outside my confines
but subway stairs are difficult




mid-October       garden annuals stand at attention
flowers ravishing         first frosts
only weeks away     the garden insists on beauty
demands the admiring eye      on warm days
I sit feeling the joy of grace freely given




dreadful daylight savings       dark before five
bare tree limbs leap in the air      leaves fall by the millions
cold and more cold     puffy jackets    gloves never two the same
Euphorbia diamond frost collapses in window boxes
begonia flowers and stems          blacken
but the cold sky glows at sunset




we drive to Bush Terminal Park
on one side           abandoned factory buildings
to the east New York harbor    we came to see the sunset
walk into fierce sun     sitting low in the sky
loop around the park      but we’ve misjudged
too cold to make another loop
we drive home    the sun sets without us




trees around the meadow are stripped
in the woodlot the wind is weaker
yellow maple leaves sparkle       unwilling to let go
X calls      says her body is breaking down
she’s depressed.     I tell her she’s over 70
that’s the way it is.      I call back to say sorry
I feel every wrinkle in my ruined skin
curse every age spot on my face
death sits in the dark
waving at me




we leave the city in a snowstorm    the air
dense with snow     Brooklyn still not visible
from the Brooklyn Bridge