Here at the edge of autumn I like to practice being generous.
I read a book that I don’t like just to exercise my manners,
maybe expand my standards for how beauty stands still,
how it hides in a moment of a life I can barely comprehend.
I am hiding my own frozen flashes of derelict magic so that
a shock of warmth might bring them out on a tray ready-to-eat.
Grant one passage into the mouth as the leaves begin to descend.
Each one deserves a shy smile, but I will decline until winter signals.
The cold intrudes like a whip instructing my hands and toes.
At the edge of autumn I can craft my answer to all new styles.
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Tim Kahl is the author of four books of poems, most recently Omnishambles (Bald Trickster, 2019). He is also editor of Clade Song. He builds and plays flutes and plays guitars, ukuleles, charangos and cavaquinhos as well. He currently teaches at California State University, Sacramento, where he sings lieder while walking on campus between classes.