The Leaf Pile

High among these branches,

autumn breezes dally

with the leaves, which crinkle

in the wind (like pages

waxed with scarlet-orange).

 

Overhead a sparrow

grooms her feathers, sheltered

by a leaf (discretely).

 

Gently I extend my finger

toward her creamy under-

side, but she – offended –

flutters off the branchlet.

 

My foot slips

 

and I let go

 

falling

 

into leaves that smell like

mildewed, musty pamphlets,

drying sunlight, cedar

chests embalmed in balsam,

pots of potpourri…

 

The sparrow (disappearing

into the bronze horizon)

baffles gravity –

 

and in this soggy dirt where

earthworms wriggle, I wonder

why leaves (and people) are always

falling, never flying.

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