October is the finest month. I step out into it, straight into the sky. It opens and opens. It holds everything—my thinning crown, ten years of father gone, the horror of child death. Objects greet me from below—a hunched leaf like a toad, an old tennis ball turned peach, a strip of rubber snake. I hear the blue jays, screeches from early memories.
I walk among the houses propped up like giant gravestones. Most are gray or tan or neutral without a name. A few pop in bold shades of rebellion: Bellini Fizz, Melón Meloso, Avid Apricot. Some dance with the dead, strung with webs, orange lights, skeletons.
Dad asked to be cremated. Even in death, he was thrifty. We had to sign a paper stating that fragments of other people’s bones may reside in his urn.
The trees are the color of slate, the color of the clouds. One tree reaches out with lavender arms. When young, we’re taught to color trees brown, brown, brown. We don’t yet know the color families.
The years begin to swallow up the bones, starting at the jaw, moving to the collarbone, the hips. The fat fills in. I let my hair grow. The teeth have a mind of their own.
Each porch tells its story: Piles of packages by the steps. Interrupted chalk play. Lighthouse painted tiger painted vase. Mud-caked gardening boots at rest. Hollowed pumpkins wait for their end.