THE COLOR CHANGE FROM AN OFFICE WINDOW
for John McPhee
It is same transformation as last year
For the yellow-red and orange-brown leaves,
So gradual that there is not even
The remembrance of what I was doing
When it happened last, except that I was here.
Here in the office, next to the Canon
Copy machine, the particle board desks,
The maddening hum of shared space.
It reminds me, looking out, of Eskimos
In Alaska. The humiliation
Of losing freedom an acre at a time—
In the end, they couldn’t survive on the food
Of civilization. “If we have nothing left,”
They said of their own Eskimo rations,
“We cannot live. We eat and eat and eat,
But never get filled up—like starvation.”
It is like that to watch the changing leaves
From the insulation of a twelfth-floor
Window, to sit in this commercial chair
And press myself toward work
That will never lead to satisfaction.
And what will it be like to celebrate
Another fall, and another, until
Even my eyes have deadened into glass?