Hometown

brown oak leaves

finger the slender grass, deep with memory

 

poplar leaves in varying shades of ochre

pile calf-

and ankle-

deep

over the terraced deck

 

the pointed red stars of Japanese maples

plaster the sidewalks like confetti

after a parade

 

old trees—sycamore, maple, cherry and apple—

 

arching over

creeks and country roads,

marching up and down the hills,

strip in the breeze, holding onto

both gold and pennies,

sifting their treasure

in measured sums

 

my hometown in autumn

counts the years one leaf at a time—

meted memories,

dropped tokens of every forgotten summer

 

each leaf is one I’ve seen before, and one I haven’t

each one still holds the question

of spring

 

as winter begins to scrape

the branches, clutching

at the season’s last

leaves

and the furrowed sky

braids cold rain

into the

wind

 

 

 

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