The dying leaves
lie in dense drifts
across the fenced space behind my home.
Summer’s last refuge, the green grass
pokes out from beneath the decomposition.
Soon, the grass blades will die like the leaves,
and winter’s glacial coat will cover
the hibernating ground.
The snow always reminds me of innocence,
while the half-alive leaves, shed from guilty trees,
is evidence of too much living.
Falling and wind-blown, the leaves mark time.
Each one is a minute or an hour or perhaps a day,
counting down the moments towards death.
In Autumn, the leaves seem a waste.
Clumped together in piles or scattered about
by the wind, they paint a blurry image
of some vague, yet regrettable loss.
Through my window, I see the naked
and unabashed trees flaunt their bare limbs.
Heavy with dying, their leaves
lie listless upon the earth.
I am the shed leaves—scattered evidence
of the tree’s former living. Each fragment shapes
my dying and the regret of not living.
And I am the greedy, abandoned tree,
counting its losses as necessary,
relinquishing its dressing,
one stitch at a time,
in single, shredded pieces.
I do not die then.
Instead, I shed my own living
to withstand the dormant winter;
so in springtime I might dig my roots
deeper into soil and rock and rot,
by the fertile death
of my leaves.
© Ami Mattison
Flickr photo courtesy of joiseyshowaa
For imperfect prose