Mimi Khalvati

Autumn Equinox

Even near noon, the sun barely skims the tops of trees
which, landscaped and spreading as they are,
variegreen and following the course of the river,
make up for their sudden lack of height by breadth.
Between earth and sky, September flattens us.
We are stalk, we are grass the length of a knuckle.
Hold up a thumb: nothing behind is taller.
The sun, being so low, carves every face in two –
forehead, bridge of the nose, philtrum, neck.
Gods and men, lit on the right, shadowed on the left,
are stalled mid-conversation, the globe is held in balance.
Brunelleschi provides perspective, Constable still water.
And I who sit alone, distance all the people, wipe them
out of the arena, leaving you to imagine them there.

Mimi Khalvati has published nine collections with Carcanet Press, including The Meanest Flower, shortlisted for the TS Eliot Prize. Child: New and Selected Poems
1991-2011 was a Poetry Book Society Special Commendation and her most recent,
Afterwardness, is a PBS Winter Wild Card. She is a Fellow of the Royal Society of