South Fork Poetry: ‘The Perfume of Autumn’

By Virginia Walker

The first buck she has ever seen on her property
crosses her window view of the accumulated leaves.
She knows he is chasing a female just vanished.
He is carelessly intent, rolling his head and rack.
A few feet from her safe position at the sink, he
looks through the glass, staring at her stares.
Then he snuffles into the leaves and snorts,
lolling his great tongue to catch the doe’s scent.
He breathes in rapid gasps and turns away from
the prying glass, leaping, then running after
the expectation of release. When the woman parts
a glass wall to organize the leaves, she encounters
the sweet, strong musk which penetrates her
as a wildness in her lungs, orchids and camellias,
pressing on her breastbone; she rakes up the air.

Virginia Walker has just come out with a collection of poems, “Neuron Mirror,” the sales of which go to the Lustgarten Foundation’s research into a cure for pancreatic cancer. The book, written with Michael Walsh, is dedicated to, among others, three South Fork poets who died of the disease: Robert Long, who was an editor at The Star, Siv Cedering, and Antje Katcher. Ms. Walker teaches at Dowling and Suffolk Community College and lives on Shelter Island.