Living among Monterey pines in San Francisco, I temporarily forgot about deciduous leaves in winter. Thank you to Sacramento for bringing them back to me. Stay well these Holidays.
You can see their spirits streaming away
in ectoplasm prints preserved each autumn.
Not every tree’s leaves
manifest dying so clearly—
releasing slow-motion scarlet flames
as they are chilled and desiccated.
Oak and maples cast off leaves
to swirl, sail and sift to the ground.
Some settle alone on sidewalks.
They lie in pattering rain, lives fading—
oak tannin blood leaching
onto ivory and gray cement.
Winds come, as autumn winds do,
to hasten more leaf siblings,
disturbing those that went before.
Spectral imprints of their souls
are left with us for a short time.
Their bodies, already become hosts
for quick mold and bacteria,
slowly sink into coffee-smelling soil.