Sunday, November 10, 2019



The leaves sure know how to die.
They got it figured out all right.
Lighting themselves on fire
In a last-gasp mass immolation,
a conflagration of orange red yellow
splashed across the barren browns of autumn.
The flickering embers of dying fires
Everyone thinks it’s a final flourish,
A man in full near the end.
He found his way
After so many twists and turns 
He found his way
After so many wrong turns

But they’ve been choking for weeks,
Siphoned of life by the trees
When the chlorophyll gets cut off.
They’ve already extracted all the fuel they need
To survive the long winter.
Enough in nature is always enough.

And so they just let go and fall;
Gentle swaying downward de-lofting
Meandering as the wind blows
Quilting the quiescent lawns below.
It’s nice for a while
But everyone soon turns to go
Back inside to their TV's and screens.
The lawn service will come next week
To dispose of the browning nuisance.
The leaves wait until then to decay.
The leaves have some couth.
The leaves know how to die.
Curled like rheumatoid fists
Off stage, when no one is looking,
Desiccated thin potato crisps
Crunching under your boots, beneath the snow.

Fall gave way to winter and now no one cares.
We got what we wanted out of them:
Oxygen, removal of carbon dioxide,
One sublime ride through the rural hillside.
Look kids, I am showing you beauty.
Look at them closely, all you damn kids
Pay attention to the messages they leave.
I still have an orange leaf in a box in the attic
Pressed between laminated sheets,
Second grade science.
Veined lines like ancient
Glyphs on scrolls and parchments
Rosetta stones of our own time
We each get a leaf etched with our own name.
That’s the leaf you have to find.


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