Dying Firethorn


My neighbor’s motion lights ignite,
light up the privet tree, the dying firethorn hedge,
the homemade fig wine in my old chipped cup.
The ink of late November’s on the ledge

atop the wall that separates our homes.
A blend of algae and diminished light
bubbles through the firethorn’s death and foams
inside my stagnant fountain’s mildewed blight.

I drink my wine. The darkness makes it sweet,
time extinguishing the sensor’s glow.
The firethorn started dying in the heat,
continues into autumn, dying slow.

A shadow, shifting, settles where it lies:
a dark so dark I need not close my eyes.

Carol Frith’s first full-length collection was released in 2010 from David Robert Books. Her second book was published in 2016 by FutureCycle Press. Her poems have appeared in Atlanta Review, Seattle Review, POEM, The Formalist, Lyric, Rattle, Smartish Pace, RHINO, Poetry Kanto, and elsewhere. She has a “Special Mention” listing in the 2003 Pushcart Prize Anthology, and one of her poems appeared in the 2017 Grayson Books anthology, Forgotten Women.


First published in Measure Volume 13, Issues 1 & 2

Winner of the Howard Nemerov Sonnet Award