The ducks have paddled away and so
I can skip stones across the pond.
Tree leaves like mouse ears, April bulbs
above ground though nights are still cold.
My mood is all yellow and purple.
That first leaf to abandon the summer –
at first I thought it was sad,
giving up early because of a few
cool days. But tonight, it feels brave.
Letting it end before it must end.
Journaling out the year beside a fire
made with the year’s fallen branches.
Some dry leaves for tinder, lift up,
orange again, they seek their old home
as fireflies, falling ash, dissolve in rain.
Autumn has plucked the leaves like feathers
from the holiday bird and dropped them
around her in a red ground cover
that will disappear into the cold soil
and reappear anew in the warming spring.
First, the seed, then the sprout, shoot,
first leaves, true leaves, then the bud,
opening to a flower, and the fruit,
containing the seeds to close the circle.
And which, I ask, is the soul?