Autumn Matins


Each time I look up from my task, more 

russet spinners speckle the air. Called,

it seems, I walk to the porch to hear

the tick-tick as each adds itself to 

the already-down––rustle and tumble

then the soft hush––abrasions of gutter 

flutter. Sometimes a slight breeze stirs 

the trees and the sky becomes patterned 

with progress; at other times, no force 

except the final severing encoded in that 

tripled-tiered layer of cells at the base 

of each stem, botanical cushion designed 

for departures, fulfilling its purpose

since winter nears and leaves are liabilities.

Every now and then a leaf takes a long 

slow ride, whirls down with regular 

oscillations—a plate-spinner’s best effort. 

Others wobble crazily as if anxious to land, 

a few skip and dip like water-skimmers, then 

topple pell-mell into a mêlée of discards. 

                                                  from The Banquet: New & Selected Poems