Leaving the Cottage


By Margaret Emerson

Out the window

time slows gracefully

slanted autumn light

waltzes across the yard

Fewer bird species gather

at the feeder or wall

seeded by David

every sunrise

before biking

to coffee

blueberry muffin

USA Today

Days shorter

less to do

visitors thinning

clothes thickening

In spite of the heater

oven-roasted meals

simmering stews

steaming plastic-covered windows

the cottage is cold

Especially at night

sliding into chilled sheets

rudely awakening

to frigid toilet seat

avoiding wooden floor slats

touching bare feet

Raw reminders

of little time

until we surrender

our little cottage in the woods

to the newest inhabitant

a skunk

maybe more

living contently

under the shower outdoors

We huddle around

warm propane heater breath

hold hot teacups

add a sweater, a hat

temporarily cozy

while making plans

for travel

to warm



Since retiring as a professor of nursing at Northeastern University, Margaret Emerson lives in Chilmark, where she pursues her passion for painting and poetry.