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We swept fallen leaves from our door;
leaves we pile each year at Hallow E’en
to treat to trick to delight the kids; but
now it was time for Fall’s next chill feast,
giving thanks, turkey day, time to
move on with it all, as time
as wind ever rushes past…

Carolyn picked up one stray fallen leaf
Big and beautiful of dark red blush,
brought it in the house and
laid it on the kitchen counter; she
left it on cold gleaming stone,
marmor crazily polished.

I took the dying leaf and scanned it;
I made its final image in this world
—even as bits of rich dark red
Veiny fading leaf crumbled
on the imaging glass.

Nameless leaf made a fine poem and
When I was done I carried it back
To the kitchen in both hands
for her, for me, for us all to love.

On impulse I raised it to my face,
smelled its frail wings, never expecting:
Overwhelmed, I inhaled a warm
Fragrance, more life than decay

perfume of a passing woman, a form,
a skirt, a rhythm, music and secret of life,

her smile, her affection, a flirtation
from her heart to mine: instant understanding,
from one life to another—

her beauty, her triumph, and self-assurance,
a warm lingering vegetal ghost, a spirit, a will,
gone before I could catch my breath
but not forgotten;

a life, a truth, her heart still beating
like my own, a personality so strong
it took my voice and breath away.

A memory of who we are, inhalation
A memory while we are,
Her breath shared with mine
Ghost of a lingering moment,
Just as quick forever gone
Eternally lingering equation.


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