Arboreal ceilings tinged flame
They way they plunge
Or are plucked, delicately
By increasingly colder winds
Motion of tires on a busy road
Watch them sail up
And then see-saw back toward lawns, sidewalks
Strewn with thousands
Some large as two palms flapping a shadow bird
Others slight as a beetle belly
Slick and suctioned to the ground
And then, in dry weather, shrink and crumple
I like what intersections do to them
Jostled as in a child’s game
Soaring upward in a funnel when air or foot stir
I love the crinkling sounds they make
As their hooked edges scratch
Across the street
I mistook them for small birds dispersing a formation
While stopped at the light outside of the mall
Were they spruce leaves? Raining yellow
Dancing in the air like copper-hued wings
I smiled as my car accelerated
Leaves caressing steel and windshield
Before lifting up again
This cycle we expect
Yet, I’m struck new by every year
The aching loveliness of death, not
All death, not oozing, violent, horrific death, not
The slow rot of decrepitude, but
Leaf death! This grandiloquent wobble around our star
This must be how it feels to be inside of a painting
Spectrum of reds and rusty coppers
What an artist would call technique
For a leaf is effortless
Chloroform and sugar, exposure of fibers
Like the surface of a photograph
Bleeding through darkness
Rests at our feet, in whispers
I’ll talk as myself, thanks
and if that means I’m being brave
then let the years make of me
what I’ve never been before.
In order to gain momentum, I shift my weight
from front to back,
working up a bounce so that I can launch
onto my 13 year
coin. To Thine Own Self Be True curves around the edge
of the coin, just like it did
in year one.
On our 4,000+ day
it occurs to me.
All sound dwindles to the white noise of a box fan in the hallway.
Stacks of numbers stack against us. My breath catches.
We are mostly
essential to each other. We are
inside of our story’s long version.
the rules and then break them.
Then we learn the broken rules.
I spin on the thing
until I’m upright again,
our point of origin.