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Black Leaves


ISSUE:  Autumn 1983

How far you can see
into the woods
in early spring
before anything blooms
but after the snow
that weighed down limbs
and bushes is gone.
And so much light
gets through
because only a few
tough leaves hang
from the trees
like bats,
and way back you see
a dilapidated shed
on a hill used
as a dump,
with mattresses
and springs and old
windows and doors,
and off by itself
in a grove a car’s
rusting eyeless carapace,
or the ruins of a forge,
or a broken pump.
And you’re surprised
how many trees are down
or on their way, leaning
ink silhouettes against
the red protractor
of the setting sun.
Close up, on the other side
of walls and fences,
along the sidewalk
or roadside, amid
plastics’ weird bleaching
on wrappers and gadgets,
and fading cans
sinking in a hedge,
suddenly at your feet
a headstone sunk
in the earth,
and lying near it,
like a wreath,
black leaves
underwater in a tire.

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