Autumn Incense

by Stephanie Unger

It must have been why I was stopped
at that traffic light, alone, early this morning:
so I could see the stumpy old maple tree
thriving on an island in a parking lot,
its crown fired red and golden purple by the slow-rising sun—
the same sun that moments earlier
stopped me with car keys and grocery list in hand
outside my back door
by drawing up steamy fog from our old wooden fence
turned black with rain overnight
and leisurely exhaling from its grain
a loamy autumn incense
that rose under motionless trees
still draining a plop-plop wetness
from their bowed branches—
all things incommensurate
with the day’s pace
I had unintentionally planned
to hurry into motion.

— from Juniper Volume 1, Issue 2