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




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.


The Wind-Road

A stream of blackbirds strokes the sky:

Jade, emerald, sigh-silver smoothed into

Ripples of rolling black. Cloud-drips

Dribble from worked wings, watering the highway.

The birds pass people who pant for freedom.

Grim in their grandeur – free, fierce, fearless –

They follow the wind-road rolling to the South.

Take me there, blackbird burnished

By sun. Teach me the mastery of wind…

Sky…sea. Free me from soul-

Anesthetizing love of land. Bear

Me on you glint-glazed, sunset-swimming

Wings that skim along the wind-road.