In autumn, I see what always is—
with a sound like the soft clattering of water
the eloquent air wends its way
and plucks a leaf, tired and shining
from its sapped branch, and the leaf loiters,
then spirals and gyres, flits and lifts,
roaming the atmosphere’s labyrinth,
its form fit to each instance of air.
The fallen leaves alight where they’ve been borne,
stacked and bent and lofted on spears of grass
where they settle and gently moulder.
They’re staked lightly by their stems, or ridged edges,
but when a gust sweeps low over the ground
they tilt and waver like flames.
The snow will come,
when the branches
and the leaves left will be
pelted down and
the wet weight
of frozen light,
and all will be close and cold.
squirrelscurry and summer burn
leave them tattered, threadbare,
flecks of their former selves.
Their flaming color now a dull gloam,
life decayed down to sullen loam,
and they are waiting.
Waiting in winter and in spring, in summer and
in autumn, waiting always for what will be—a seed.
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