by Barbara Crooker


The goldenrod’s tarnished and dull, gone to rust,
as the Dow Jones plummets like the mercury
on a January night, echoing Frost’s warning
that nothing gold can stay. Not the birch
leaves that glittered like sequins on a tap
line, not the marigold’s petals, not the finch’s
wing. It falls through our fingers, pebbles
in a placer’s pan. We try to spend it,
but the days are too short, and the stores
won’t give us credit. We try to bank it,
but our password is denied. When the clocks
give back their hour, when it’s dark at dinnertime
as a politician’s heart, where do those minutes go?
Do they jangle their golden music as they slip
through the holes in our linty pockets
to fall on the frozen hard ground?


Barbara Crooker lives and writes in rural northeastern Pennsylvania with her husband and son, age 28, who has autism. Her poems have appeared in a variety of literary journals and anthologies, and among her awards is the 2003 Thomas Merton Poetry of the Sacred Prize. Her newest book is More (C&R Press, 2010).