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against the stonewall siding

and the white lattice fence

out front.

Years ago

I would have raked them up

and buried myself in the heap

‘til Mom came looking.

I’d poke my head out

with twigs and pine needles

tangled in my blonde nest

and brush the dry leaves off

my woolen fleece.

She’d curse the combing

and washing added

to her list. 

I take a seat,

back against the stonewall

and lose my legs

to the un-raked dead.

A few pinecones

sit with me.

One faded green leaf

curled in on itself

looks like an over-sized

Brussels sprout.

I’m back to last years Thanksgiving,

Mom cursing the dried stuffing

and Dad watching football.

I pace my room

in underwear,

stepping over unfit outfits,

informal or too tight.

Sitting in the leaves

outside this new home

I spit on a brittle leaf,

darkening the amber

and the bubbles don’t pop,

not right away.

Last night

I think my neighbor died.

Red lights flashed,

no sirens,

and I sat on my stoop thinking

the old lady fell again.

Blue lights came

and yelling

and the sound of a stretcher.

The white lattice fence

was my censor

but a woman staggered

to a car parked in front

where I could see,

put a hand on it,

bent over,


I probably won’t rake these leaves,

but the snow will hide them soon

and once Spring comes

my lease will be up.

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