as thin and drawn as a frost-seared leaf blade,
and the small knock of hammers that tolls through
this village—solitary souls preparing
for the north wind, with winter only weeks away.
The knocking comes from up the lane, toward town,
replacing shingles that curled beneath
the August sun. It comes from down by the pond,
shoring up canting clapboards, and fastening
plastic banking with strips of roughened lath,
tacked in a band to flank fieldstone foundations.
Each distant farmhouse, spread across the empty,
stubbled fields, conducts its autumn office alone;
no copse or barn will offer up an echo,
and these varied rhythms lose whatever force
a chorus might hold against the fading
of the silent Indian Summer sun.