MARC IMLAY

Falling leaves
not a moment when there isn’t at least
one in flight
tumbling, spinning, yawing
in their brief fright.

The end of their life’s season.
From their colony torn.
Replaced by the next generation,
on some spring day, warm.

Now old, I can see
this happening to me.
Not a day passes when at least
one I know of is deceased.

Leaves connected to a tree
are as individuals in society.
All necessities are provided.
We simply take it all for granted.

But disconnect from the tree
and we will not much longer be.
Thus the fear of exile’s removal
or even others’ disapproval.

To us beautiful melancholy.
But to leaves must seem a horror
as they notice themselves fading and drying
and realize they too must bear this honor.

How supple and fresh in spring’s youth.
How vibrant in adolescence.
How purposeful in adulthood.
Only to fade in senescence.

Then retire from work and start our drop.
We giddily spin and flip and flop
in our own unique time and way
until upon the ground we lay.

There but a little time we last
before taking our last gasp.
After that we experience not
and our body in the ground shall rot
providing future sustenance
for leaves that come generations hence.

I confess it doesn’t help me much
knowing my crumbling into dust
will help new life flourish.
It’s not a satisfying explanation
my death assisting future generations
should balance my having to perish.

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