What struck me the most was the title. How paradoxical the language is of "Late Summer" and "First Day." What the title does for me is set up a comparative interest that revolves around time -- or rather timing.
The sun has burnt throughFrom the construction, it's not the sun that is the mask, but the what the sun burnt through. For me the lines is a play on what to imagine because of the "that." What does "that" refer to if it is not the sun? "There is nothing / between the light and its source." From the next two lines, there's an ephemeral moment that expands the discussion to what it means to illuminate -- be present -- from a source which doesn't necessarily has to be present to illuminate. Memory is a good example of "There is nothing / between the light and its source." How about a phantom pain, "There is nothing / between the light and its source."
That which resembled a mask
was just itself:
The fields gather dust
instead of rising
The woods stand cold and hard
The houses have come out
for the last time.
Dystopian language here. In haiku, it's renso, the imagination chain where one image expands or pans out to others. First it is the dust in the field, which moves to the woods, then the houses. Note with each image the description seems more contrary to the image of summer -- dusted fields seems more like a spring image, woods that stand cold and hard seem more like a winter image, the houses, although with no correlation with a particular season, has no connection. This lack of connection also questions what first day means when everything appears to be the last day based on the images.
From specific images to pronouns. Who are "they?" What does the "you" refer to? I feel the "their" refers to more of an overarching humanity they based on the dystopian. "Unequivical," leaving no doubt; unambiguous, and "inexplicable," unable to be explained or accounted for, seem broad descriptions for expressions at first, but, for me, when I think of Tarot cards it's not happy and great time summer, but rather people either going through tragedy or preparing for one.
Their expressions are unequivocal
and inexplicable as Tarot cards.
For a moment you see the future
as if it lay before you
Is this the future? Is this because Summer is late? I read this poem as though someone is experiencing the end of the world, or a changing of the world to the catastrophic -- global warming? Climate change?