The poem is structured on the sestina form. 39 lines, 6 stanzas of 6 lines each line ending in one of six repeating words. The final three lines close the poem. Two of each word is used in one line each to summarize the story the poem is attempting to convey.
November arrives, welcome relief from heat, now cool,
Misty morning sunlight with its companion, smoke.
Stepping out onto the porch, lungs expand, air is crisp.
I inhale the tang of harvest burns.
Rocking in my chair, my thoughts recall annual visits to the hills
and friendships bound together with cornhusk rope and cider apples.
Twenty-six years past, trees planted, our children like young apples.
Now a time for jackets, gloves and socks to combat the autumn cool.
I smile as I recall and anticipate the annual trek to the hills.
Bright sunlight faintly shadowed with harvest smoke
Within - my soul burns
For banks of leaves - dry, brown, crisp.
"Peach cobbler time has ended", Barbara proclaims, preparing a sweet fruit crisp
made with love and filled with cinnamin, sugar, flour and apples.
Her backyard houses a growing debris pile for the yearly burn.
My porch to hers, I breathe in the morning cool
and the repeating tang of harvest burns.
I relax knowing that for a short time I am in the hills.
Our friendship has been a gently rolling hill,
A soft series of never-ending swells punctuated with moments of crispness
or the smothering pall of vampyric smoke
heavy with the loss of one of OUR apples.
Inner life sags and cools
but then slowly rebuilds and explodes in a life affirming burn.
Back on my porch, I lose myself in the burning
desire to run to the hills,
to surrender to the autumn coolness,
to splash through leafy mounds of golden brown crackle and crisp,
to learn the secret of squeezing cider from apples
and pumping bellows on sausage, making rings of smoke.
Autumn is smoking.
Orchard caretakers fire up the burners.
Smells waft, roasting green apples.
Friends tramp through golden rainbow hills,
have fun in the kitchen baking a sweet crisp
and breathe in the evening coolness.
Rocking on my porch, I dream of days at Apple Hill
wrapped in memories of drifting smoke and tears that burned,
binding friendship over fruit-filled crisps and cool evenings.