It's hard to accept the first leaves yellowing like middle-aged parents.The road is deliciously black, newly paved, its oil ablazewith plumes of setting sun.
It's not my imagination: the boy in the trucknarrows his eyes in my direction. He wants mebecause I remind him of his mother, the bitter pleasure
of wanting what couldn't want him.He reminds me how angry I am, how much I hate 4x4s like his,buffed by loving hands.
The frogs have fallen silent, crickets and cicadasfiddle at the rootsof the sky's burning city, the crimson heart of summer
skips a beat, suddenly older, riper, slower,rubbing against its own demiselike one thigh rubbing another. A nearby dog
yelps as though it's being beaten. The first leaves yellowon limbs still growingpast the sinking sun. [End Page 283]
Joy Ladin, Gottesman Professor of English at Yeshiva University, is the author of six books of poetry, including The Definition of Joy; Forward Fives award-winner Coming to Life; and the Lambda Literary Award finalist Transmigration. She has also written a memoir, Through the Door of Life: A Jewish Journey between Genders.