Near Waterford, Pa.

It was still summer-late August-

But during the night, fall had crept in

For a preview.

Breath hung in the dawn air a moment

Before floating off

And mist settled on everything,

Dripping from mailboxes and signs

A few degrees from glazing.

An old farmer had risen early

Excited by the chill.

Thinking October thoughts of

Hunting and pumpkins

He drove his battered mostly red pickup

Toward town.

Rounding a bend his left rear tire came loose

Dropping the hub in a banging, grinding, sparking,

Skid into the asphalt.

The tire kept going

Across two yards, through a birdbath

And flowerpatch, splitting a fat rhododendron

Finally coming to rest with a thud

against the home of a chain stretching, growling, teeth baring

German Shepard named Leo.

The old farmer leaned against a fender

Of his listing, clicking truck

And lit a cigarette under the red sky.

It was going to be a good day.