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  • Route 7 Review

Albert Katz—Boyce Farmers Market in the Late Autumn

from the warmth of my window, looking

across the parking lot

over the roof of the Boyce Farmer’s market

the tree with the one large nest

visible in the naked branches

whips back and forth

and wisps of snow blow in circles

there is beauty in this moment of starkness, in

this Sunday stillness, the parking lot

empty, nestled in those hours between

the weekday cars of government workers, and

the Saturday market

with the outdoor venders selling vegetables from their farms,

people everywhere, lineups,

gone in late autumn

to be replaced in December by men selling

in seemingly haphazard places

Christmas trees and wreathes

the acrid smell of food trucks, fat flesh, the

smoke mixing with the cold air, hanging

as a common thread across the Saturdays of fecundity

and bareness

then, hush, the stink too is gone

until it returns, like the tick tock, tick tock

of a metronome


there is a serenity also in these too short days

turning dark, and the moon, mustard yellow, draped

in a haze

the same moon watched by

our barefooted cave-dwelling cousins

traces of whom

reside within our genome.

predators and prey

who, with killer-ape eyes, looked at trees bare of leaves

and saw beauty in that same starkness

I see across the way

shared with us these hominid dreams

of a time free of fear, free

of sudden death, free

of random acts of cruelty, free to just

sit and watch

the majesty of nature

that watched the seasons run their course

smelled the acrid smell of fat meat cooking

and had no concept

of Zyklon B or skeletal thin bodies

floating in lime


There was a time in which,

the bitter end of my marriage settling upon me,

I would drop my estranged wife

off at work, take a route to the University where I professed

and on days such as this

there was a copse of trees I would pass

that would glitter in the sun

with fresh fallen snow

I would pull over the car

just watch those bare limbed trees

for 5 minutes or so

transfixed by the loveliness

laid out in front of me

it was oh-so beautiful but,

hush, tick tock,

the same route, the next day

the sun clouded, the glitter gone

it was just a row of trees

and I’d drive on


I cherish those rare moment

found between tick tock periods of

burnt, hanging flesh

cherish the moments that demand we embrace them

that put lie to those eons of hate and cruelty

we have travelled from and with

our barefooted apelike cousins,

moments that declare:

we, sad little arrogant beasts,

renounce our mark as brutes

proclaim we

are neither yet stripped of promise, nor

yet exempted from grace

Albert Katz

After 43 years as a Professor of Psychology, Albert N. Katz (he/him) retired and started a literary career. His poems and stories have since appeared in anthologies, genre-based and literary magazines. On retirement, he moved to one of the maritimes provinces of Canada. Katz' recent poems are reflections initiated in that new environment and reflections on his retiring and upcoming relocation. He can be reached at: twitter: akatzn


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