parted the overgrown hedge.
There stood the tree she remembered—
still on its last limbs and still "self-pruning,"
as the tree-surgeon called it—
still the largest sweet gum in the underworld.

From the dogwood, berries dripped,
bright as blood. A frog called out
for company. The owl that hunted it
rowed the deepening dark with muffled wing.
Clinging to the front door of the house,

a moth tried to disguise itself as wood.
How had the gecko guarding the porch light
missed a last mouthful of dust?
Under its pale otherworldly skin,
throbbed a blue semiprecious stone.

In ancient gowns the months
Persephone had lost to the upper world
leaned down from heaven's porches.
There on her own porch, in the rocking chair
where no one ever rocked,

sat the dead weight of September,
the chair ever so faintly ashudder.