Treasure Island

r james sterzinger

(9-11-56 / midwest)

10-30-10 (For S. P.)


shorter days
wet damp indifferent days
to us fools who
believe in the permanence of
things. this is the season
when the leaves loosen
their commitment to time
to us to the trees
to do a beautiful red and yellow
lemming's death dance.

their dance is not for me. not yet.
I despise raking
this cotton wood's leaves,
would like to call in the cutter's chainsaws
bow saws, pruning shears;
to end this clutter of twigs, branches,
leaves.

still I love this dark wet tree's ominous
bark, this trunk, these bows:
arms tugging at the sky's corner
makes me feel like I belong
to this equinox this time
this place this quiet
to a corner of life
subtlety reminding me
that like the leaves
I will someday be swept
away.

who shuns death
never giving thought
to the trimming of time
has no business
sacking the fallen leaves,
dragging them
to the curb
for the trash man
or burning them in piles
of smoking heat and fire.

the whole of this October day
is awash on them
he who refuses the rake
misses a schoolboy's lesson
a remedial reading on the wholeness
of things.
all of life stumbles upon
the meaning of falling leaves.

Submitted: Saturday, October 30, 2010
Edited: Saturday, October 30, 2010

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