Leafing through Autumn


A leftover summer warms the days.
With her thin-line pen
The still-planning spider draws across the air
   the barest diagram of a house,
Then sits and waits.
A red leaf is caught in her design.
She has one threadbare month to live.


Brown leaves steep in the standing water
   of a neighbor’s birdbath—
For the retiring year
November serves a dark, unsweetened tea.


The touch-me-nots that stood along the rough road
   through the woods
Lie slack and blackened on the frozen ground.
All summer long they grew on tiptoe.
At one point they took off their shoes and carried them
   so as not to make any noise.
They thought they were fooling the dark decay where they began,
But all the while it had them by the foot.


The night’s frost thaws in the morning sun,
And dead leaves hang limp from the wild raspberry canes
   like wet trash caught on a branch in a blowing wind.
How unsubstantial substance is, how flimsy foliage,
A tissue the sorrowing earth wipes her wet eyes with
   once or twice,
Then throws away.

–October 21, 2004

(“Leafing through Autumn” appeared in the Fall 2005 issue of Hazmat Review, Rochester NY.)

Published on February 4, 2007 at 6:08 pm  Leave a Comment  

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