Sora Kim-Russell

High Sky, Fat Horses

In the season of fat horses, a persimmon tree alight with orange fire

stands stark against the gray-green canvas of mountains.

Wizened limbs snake against the sky, heavy with their load of pumpkin-colored stars.

If this were the city, the tree would be picked clean.

Here, the earth goes soft as the Technicolor harvest turns to mud.

Rice houses straggle across the bare paddy,

caked brown earth sparsely studded with shorn stalks.

Across the valley, the gingko trees have released their cache.

Naked golden seeds rot on the ground.

Burned bronze, the autumn’s usual fireworks lost to the long summer.

The sky fails to tower, hugs the mountains like a close, gray shawl.

Only the persimmons stand out, like fire in zero gravity,

globes of cool liquid flame bobbing in the trees.

From over the mountains, the cold makes its fast approach.

The season collapses beneath its own weight,

disappears as summer and winter close in like sliding doors.

The countryside echoes like an empty house, as hollow as a shelled nut.