Poem: “Rake”

Frozen-finger claw reaches from my hands

blisters where I hold too tightly

scraping at the surface of things

dragging away death—

remnants of things once green

I try not to disturb what lives.

Overhead, the wind 


the hold of a hundred leaves.

They rain down,

no more attachment left,

surrendered to the soil,

sacrifices for that which will be.

We take a load of leaves to an open and wild

space where the final languishing begins.

The pile will be flat in a week. 

The Earth knows what She’s doing.

I wonder about the dead things in us.

What’s the rake for them?

How long till our sorrow flattens?

Ready for rest,

the near-barren tree creaks.

A few flecks of yellow hang on.

Months from now, 

from somewhere unseen,

new life will grow,

will grow



Fall 2004

Chapel Hill, North Carolina


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