If You Drop Leaves


If You Drop Leaves

If you drop leaves when she walks by,
does that signify grief for those
cut down early,

or merely drought?
How easily we abandon and forget.

Yet a whiff of lemon verbena or the light
bouncing from a passing Ford
can call them back,

tiny sorrows ratcheted in sequence
above the cracked well casing

but below the shingles
and near the dwindling shade
tracing its outline on the lawn.

And what do you whisper
alone at night within sight
of sawn and stacked siblings?

Do you suffer anger by way
of deadfall or absorption,

bark grown around and concealing
a penetrating nail, never shedding
tears, never sharing one moment

with another. Offered condolences,
what might you say? Pain earns no
entrance. Remit yourselves.

“If You Drop Leaves” was published at Bad Pony in November 2017. Many thanks to editor Emily Corwin for taking this piece.

10 thoughts on “If You Drop Leaves

  1. This could be about so many things! I am fascinated with the image. Wondering if you tweak poems to suit a chosen image (the “she”) … wondering about “light bouncing from a passing Ford” (sunlight? headlights?) This feels rural to me; yet comparable trimmings occur in urban landscapes. Abandoned-then-regained memories triggered by environmental encounters are a universal puzzle worth pondering.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I tweak poems to suit images, or to carry multiple resonances, or to simply make it sound better. I’m more concerned with the truth of the poem, as opposed to the fact of the story or initial impulse. The light bouncing off the Ford could be sunlight flashing from chrome or the mirrors, or even headlights – whatever the reader feels. The setting is open to interpretation, especially since I have both suburban and rural properties, and write about both often. Even when I think I know what I’m doing, I frequently find out that I don’t. 😀

      Liked by 2 people

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