“Students Getting Off a School Bus in October” by Donald Nitchie

They fall out the yellow folding door
one by one, laughing and waving their arms,

walking in the road, summer still in their stride, 
winter’s monotonous sentence

yet to begin. I want to follow them
down the trails they take through the woods, 
past the fire pits with rusted chairs, broken bottles 
heaped against stones, someone’s scratched-out initials.

I want to go where they go, down to the stream
where maples have laid out a bed of crimson leaves

and they can speak without facing each other
as clouds move through branches.  I want

to stop this late-afternoon shaft of sun
through the leaves that suddenly
reek with fragrance, as if these days
are burning and we are on fire.

           This poem was originally published in The Martha’s Vineyard Times.

Donald NitchieDonald Nitchie has published poems in Salamander, The Martha’s Vineyard Times, the Vineyard Gazette, Martha’s Vineyard Arts & Ideas, and Martha’s VIneyard Poetry. His chapbook, “Driving Lessons” was put out by Pudding House in 2008. He is a graduate of Columbia University’s School of the Arts in poetry, and from time to time leads poetry writing workshops on Martha’s Vineyard. He edits The Banjo Newsletter and lives in Chilmark, MA.