“Neighbors in October”

This neighborhood scene depicted by poet David Baker evokes memories of autumns past. From children raking and piling fallen leaves for diving practice, or adults gathering to prepare for storm season. The collective efforts captured in this poem reignite this truth in us, that we are better and stronger together.

Neighbors in October
By David Baker

All afternoon his tractor pulls a flat wagon
with bales to the barn, then back to the waiting
chopped field. It trails a feather of smoke.
Down the block we bend with the season:
shoes to polish for a big game,
storm windows to batten or patch.
And how like a field is the whole sky now
that the maples have shed their leaves, too.
It makes us believers—stationed in groups,
leaning on rakes, looking into space. We rub blisters
over billows of leaf smoke. Or stand alone,
bagging gold for the cold days to come.

This poem was originally published on Poetry Foundation.

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