This week’s poem, Don Colburn’s “November,” conjures our current moment between October’s gold and December’s chill – a “season in between.” I love this poem’s beautifully observed details of land and sky on the cusp, and its tone that mingles resignation and reverence for the season’s inevitable shift.

Colburn is a retired newspaper reporter and an unretired poet. During a long journalistic career at papers including The Washington Post, he was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in feature writing. He has an MFA degree from Warren Wilson College. He has published five collections of poetry, and other writing honors include the Discovery/The Nation Award, the Cider Press Review Book Award, and the Finishing Line Press Poetry Prize. He lives in Falmouth.

Poets, please note that submissions to Deep Water are open through the end of the year. Deep Water is especially eager to share poems by Black writers, writers of color, Indigenous writers, LGBTQ+ writers and other underrepresented voices. You’ll find a link to submit in the credits below.

By Don Colburn

Something else to like about this larch
or tamarack if you’re from where they call it that
is how last month it blended in
on a hillside unanimous with firs
as if an evergreen. But now
its needles burn alone until they turn
and flourish gold and drop.

Offseason everything’s a little off,
ski trails lost without the fact of snow.
The sky today sky-blue, but under foot
dead hoary leaves, hard-rutted mud.
Boulders in the creek necklaced,
skull-capped in ice from overnight.

A season in between, the green of ferns
and leafy hardwoods going if not gone.
And with the sudden waterfall in sight,
it’s time to turn around. Footing dicey,
canyon air a spumy not quite rain.
A lot can still go either way.
Sunlight won’t matter here for months.

Megan Grumbling is a poet and writer who lives in Portland. Deep Water: Maine Poems is produced in collaboration with the Maine Writers & Publishers Alliance. “November,” copyright 2023 by Don Colburn, is reprinted from Southern Poetry Review. It appears by permission of the author. Submissions to Deep Water are open now and through the end of the year. For more information, go to

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