Not Quite Autumn

When my neighbor
ventures out for a walk
with her dog, she stops
to tell me she hasn’t
seen me for ages.

I’m gardening among the still-
blooming phlox and sweet alyssum.
Late summer sun slants through
still-green leaves, backlighting
red highlights in her colored hair.

We’re the same age, but aging
differently. She’s chosen Botox
and hair-coloring; I’ve chosen,
unkindly, to judge her, even
as I envy her appearance.

It’s Indian Summer she says, then
adds: my friend from Kazakhstan
told me it’s called Woman’s
Summer there.
She and her dog
turn uphill, toward home.

I turn to Google, expecting to find
what she’s told me is wrong. It is.
In Kazakh the phrase is “Old”
Woman’s Summer; her friend’s
been kind to us both.

Martha Christina is a frequent contributor to Red Eft Review. Her work also appears recently in Crab Orchard Review and in earlier issues of Star 82 Review. Her full-length collection, Against Detachment, was published by Pecan Grove Press in 2016. She lives in Bristol, RI, where for many years she taught creative writing at Roger Williams University.

See more of her work in 7.3 and 7.2 and 6.3 and 6.3 again