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