October 10, 2004
Only in Autumn do leaves fade into Brilliance-
Each leaf unique, devoid of being purely green.
It is in Autumn a bountiful harvest is celebrated—
Hand-woven baskets overflow with tree-ripened apples,
Indian corn ready to have its colorful kernels popped,
and a variety of gourds that amuse in both their shapes and names.
The Day of the Dead is acknowledged by pumpkins carved
with faces, both light-heartedly mocking and menacing,
displayed in warm soft-lit neighborhood windows.
As the lights from these shallow-shelled lanterns glow-
passerbys ponder what constitutes the soul.
Couples are seen walking, along maple and oak tree-lined streets-
snuggly bound in coordinating woolen sweaters, knit hats, and flannel-lined pants,
still seeking out warmth by holding hands.
A crisp breeze tickles and burns only their cheeks,
Because the tips of their noses are already numb.
Their nostrils still functioning, inhale the Essence of Fall,
an arid elixir of decaying leaves and clear star-nighted brightness.
It instantly intertwines with their innermost membranes,
carried through their nasal passageways, down through the throat, finally settling a flaming chill deep within their chests.
Together the walkers’ shuffling feet and dried leaves meet into a rhythmic rustle.
Leaves continue to fall off of branches, seeming so high they touch the clear-blue in the sky, dancing with the wind even after they settle to their places on the ground.
The amber-hued Earth is undressing herself during this time of withering fruitfulness— Preparing for the penetration of life still two seasons away.