Fall sneaks in like mice at night.
One day, the trees are green;
flowers bloom; tomatoes still produce.
Yet, next morning, summer’s elegance
flees at 32 degrees and below.
The first freeze is always the toughest, most brutal.
I try to cover the vegetables,
anticipating the initial freeze.
But the day before, that gorgeous 72
and no wind lulled us into a false security.
Even at midnight, when I rise, a bit blurry-eyed,
to relieve the one glass of water too many
before bed, the temperature still hovers around 40.
Not feeling the mercury drop outside, I climb back
under the red sheets, now cold from my absence,
fall to sleep, thinking nothing of the frost
that surreptitiously creeps in around 2:00 a.m.,
delicately kissing each tomato, each colored flower.
Frost is no respecter of flowers or vegetables
or anything that might be dainty and vulnerable.
He is clandestine, yet sometimes blatant, and then lingers
for his big brother—winter’s snow—cheating
everything beautiful, yet simultaneously creating beauty
in his own wonderfully white, fresh way.
And spring, their sister, waits her turn, patiently.