Riches of Leaves

Updated: Aug 16, 2021

I held the leaves, slippery as glass, immortal, weightless, indulging in gravity simply for Isaac Newton's sake. Veins criss-crossed underbellies, cracked like a Cubist road map, streets breeding alleyways, avenues born again as grand boulevards. Elysian Fields in bloom. You said not to return until the sun had limned the rooftops in the west. Directions not my strong suit, I gawked for angles of red, settled for gold. We could spend it only on another maple, whose fiery autumn offerings spread across the Earth like tarpaulins. How we laughed at the updraft that rustled the boughs. Something yearned to happen. We craned our necks high above the pages of our prayer book. Summer days last till midnight. We fell dumbstruck at the swirling light. The sun wandered among clouds to burn, burn, burnish. On the ground lay leaflets with fragmented titles: Apocalypse.... Near the pond, dramas unfolded. Shakespeare, Racine: Pick your poison. When I found the skull, I knew the right question to ask. Blood on the stage never pools, characters look for their faces in vain. Romeo, Juliet, how messy the young die. At intermission, rain glistened sidewalks. Hunters Lodge lay ahead, no taxidermy. Love followed us through the twilight, transparent as air, heavy as the gold we could not spend. We roamed near doors, knocked once and ran. The pavement: uneven, pitted with detritus, weighed down by dreams. The wine’s bouquet delicately summoned lavender, blueberries, allspice. I ignored the word “bouquet.” In Yucatan, I remember how the orange moon filled the cenote, rim to rim. Mayans began to mark up prices for filtered water. The local alternative made your stomach churn glass, but it could double as pest control. An army of ants scrawled revolutionary placards. We hacked away roots that entangled ancient stairways leading to the pyramid’s pinnacle. Sometimes, staying solo for so long opens a magical escape from the world-weary world. William Wordsworth examines mirrors on each looking-glass, which bears the still-wet imprint of slick maple leaves. He raises a flask of brandy, half-empty. Tree rings mark the progression of our days. No dialing back.

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