everything august is done with,

half forgotten, packed away in our closets,

the dresser’s bottom drawer.

october will be here tomorrow,

or two days,

half a week early but already too late,

outpaced by the cold,

outflanked by the frost.

we have seen it all too early:

the bundles, the blankets, the shuffling shoes;

shirt sleeves give way to jackets and fleece;

hands find their way into pockets;

the sun does not shine like it’s supposed to anymore.

i remember a month ago when i first saw my breath—

woke up one morning, walked out the door,

and there it was.

it was just novelty act,

and we lost it for awhile. we forgot.

we went back to sandals and shorts and open windows

and bags of ice for $2.99 to cool our drinks.

how quickly we forget how easily things are broken.

summer fades and leaves change color,

and it is cold now when the sun finally sets.

a week ago it wasn’t like this,

but autumn has rediscovered us,

has found us out,

and winter is on its way.

Peggy Noonan writes: What are we in the pocket of? An illusion, perhaps, or rather many illusions: that we must know the latest, that we must have a say, that we are players, are needed, that the next score will change things, that through work we can quench our thirst, that, as they said in the sign over the entrance of Auschwitz, “Work Brings Freedom”…

While it’s tempting to marvel at the prescience of the article (written some four years ago), to connect it with recent tragedy and see “ah ha! I told you so!” in its conclusions, I share it only because it is well written, because I lost track of time while reading it, because it is a distraction from thinking there’s something else you ought to be doing.

I suppose I should be working, but instead I’m playing this. Okay, and this. This is what happens when I am left to my own devices for too long. Talk to me. Drop me a note, leave a comment. Is there anybody else out there? I am suddenly in the need of some external validation.

Half awake this morning, stumbling from the shower, I heard something on NPR that has stuck with me all day. At Sunday’s memorial service in Yankee Stadium for the victims of the September 11 terrorist attack, one rabbi said that six thousand people did not die on that day. One person died, six thousand times.

That sent me looking for this half-remembered verse by John Donne: …any man’s death diminishes me, because I am involved in Mankind, and therefore never send to know for whom the bells tolls; it tolls for thee.. I hope we can remember that, in the days to come, in our calls for war, we who are so ready to kill, so hungry for revenge. No man is an island, entire of itself; every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main. I don’t see how more death will honor anyone’s memory.

Last night I had a dream that I was at my old job. Which was weird, but probably has something to do with today being the first official day at my new job. I’ve been here for two weeks now — two tedious weeks — but only today do I move from wage payroll to salary. The job is not without its problems (which may be putting it mildly), and I have yet to convince myself that this change is one for the better, but my fortune cookie from lunch assures me, you can always find a way out. I’ve chosen to take some comfort in that.

And incidentally, I’m still worried about missing the Buffy premiere next week. Isn’t that just pathetic?