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.

8 thoughts on “If You Drop Leaves

  1. Ouch! This one hurts, especially:
    what do you whisper / alone at night within sight / of sawn and stacked siblings?

    Could be metaphor for COVID deaths, but my wincing is from the failing live oak in my front yard … if not this year, next we will need to cut it back significantly. It’s an oak wilt survivor, but now a dozen years later clearly declining and headed toward dropping heavy dead limbs at some point … those extended over street and roof need to be taken out gently before they crash. I am emotionally attached to the tree, alas. Will feel like pruning part of me when the day comes.

    Curious if this was written for a specific tree?

    Liked by 1 person

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