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Before the Frost, a poem by Charlotte Melin





Before the Frost

In the bouldered prairie

sumac flares up

red here and there,

and bison rest between 

stiff spikes of mullein 

with wooly leaves.

The creek waterfall 

has dried to a trickle,

the rocks that flank it

shelter yet moss in layers

once carved by torrents. 

Elsewhere, deer bound

off into the woods,

a spent oriole nest 

lies beside the path

beneath cottonwoods.

After the rain comes,

small bird voices will

fill every bush and tree

one last time

before the frost.

Charlotte Melin grew up in Indiana and returns to visit. Recently retired from the University of Minnesota, she lives in Northfield and has published widely about German poetry, the environmental humanities, and teaching.