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,
Chapel Hill, North Carolina