October

Autumn is naturally sad, I think
I watch, on social media, as the natural exuberance of summertime
Fades from the posts and photos of those who are mine.

It’s my natural time of reflection,
As temperatures, and leaves, and spirits drop.

I know many who like it.
The bright colors, the warm comforts of hoodies and hot cider
The joys of Halloween and pumpkins, hayrides and spices.

I like those things, too.
But I’d far rather be sharing a summer evening campfire,
Friends and sarcasm and singing and beers,
In the sweaty heat of an August night
Nowhere to be but there.

Nichole M. Dulin

Cascade

Yesterday, while I stood in my kitchen,
deeply inhaling the steam
from the just-opened dishwasher,
that had, somehow,
transported me
into my grandmother’s kitchen,
I stared into the racks, breathing.
While my mind conjured the yellow tiles,
rock-patterned linoleum,
white metal cabinets,
and apricot preserves,
on a fresh Irish scone.

And in that moment,
I wondered. Somewhere,
in the whatever is Beyond,
was my grandmother also transported
on that blast of steam,
into my kitchen?

Could she smell the roast I made?
Could she see that we painted the kitchen yellow?
Did she notice her plate on the wall?

Nichole M. Dulin

Lottery

“I don’t know much about being a millionaire, but I’ll bet I’d be darling at it.” —Dorothy Parker

I spent part of the week spending lottery money
Like so many people do on snowy winter days,
when the pot climbs and the thermostat falls.

Curled up with the cat
thinking about the age of the cars, the mileage,
the traveling I haven’t done.

They’re different dreams now than the were
ten or fifteen years ago.
I don’t spend time fitting the houses and boats,
buying extravagant gifts for family and friends.

Now I think how the winners end up—
stripped bare by the change,
inundated in a wave of sadness,
unmatched by ability,
untempered by time.

I think of lawyers, financials advisers,
annuities and investment accounts.
How I would protect
and it hardly seems worth dreaming any more.

But I still bought a ticket.

Nichole M. Dulin