Early November and the trees are all done.
Time to gather the leaves, let the dog run
Some wait too long---
Let the leaves lie, scattered across the lawn,
Clumped in corners
And up against walls---
Which the winter rains and sleet change
Into a heavy black sludge
You can’t rake.
Others start too early
When their lawns are first dappled orange, yellow and red,
Before the trees have emptied.
You wouldn’t start to clean the pans
Until everyone’s been fed---
You have to be patient.
I wait for a day when the sky lowers
And the trees stand like skeletons
In the dim gray afternoon, when the world seems domed,
Hemmed in and colorless.
I have blowers and tarps and rakes.
I make wide coned piles and drag them into the woods.
The hours elapse.
It’s hard work.
You have to wear gloves.
The lawn freshly revealed; a deep India green.
The blades of grass sweeping forward as if combed.
The geese fly overhead and the dusk descends,
With a weariness and ache in my bones.
But soon the harsh December winds howl down from the North.
Leaves from the woods are rustled from piles and blown,
Skirting across my lawn like skipping stones.
I see them from the window.
But it’s too cold now.
Let them litter the dying green pastel;
You will never get them all.
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