Now is the time for crawlers. The night kind, garden-slick, fat. Lime-glowing suckers who munch and stunt things. I pull them off when I see them. They eat leaves otherwise and leave lace to languish where photosynthesis once triumphed.

Summer is fading.

The pollinators still come, but they’re giving way to pests. To Earth’s cleaners who eat and hearken decay. The birds will be next, great flocks of them migrating who’ll pick seeds from the center discs of giant Helios blooms. They’ll shit them somewhere in Mexico and grow more fields.

When I pull a zinnia from its stalk (because its time has passed) earwigs shuffle and panic in and out of the dying flower. They head into its folds where it’s still moist. It’s a double-crowned one, this zinnia. Dense, full, deep. A stink bug shows itself on one orange bloom-lick (they are flames, these flowers, they explode).

A neighbor gifted me a devotional, a goddess-driven daily reader that pulls out stories from everywhere to teach lessons and give reminders. Today’s entry brings a reversal: a masculine moon and a sun mother. It talks about incest, about rape, abuse. It says to me, these things happen. It says, the mothers avenge their children when they find out.

It’s heavy.

I didn’t build a fire. I ate oatmeal but not with intention. I pruned my garden the day after Lammas, because that’s when I could do it. The way I connect with the holidays now has less to do with ceremony and dogma than it used to (when I was a young pagan, a witchy girl with no garden).

My cone flowers told me it’s time to harvest.

My pumpkin vine’s deep green artery has carried me through summer.

This bridge into fall is my favorite. I’ll cut chicory today from a roadside. In six weeks, we’ll land at another equinox. Acorns will be falling (dropped from trees by scatter-minded squirrels). There’ll be a chill, and I’ll welcome it. But for now, it’s still summer.

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