Image credit:  Pixabay

Image credit: Pixabay

Gardens cut back, cleaned up, 
soil black as coffee grounds
awaits the protection of mulch.

The air thick with scent, 
sweet and clean but
an undercurrent of rot;

a false freshness like
apple peels browning
as the pie bakes,
like smoke from backyard fires
acrid against tomatoes
too long on the vine.
Sawdust scattered near
freshly stacked cordwood
so much like pencil shavings
on the second, 
not the first,
day of school.