It was an autumn project every year
when I was still too young to wonder why
I could not understand the reason for
collecting leaves to paste them in a book.
We took a long drive to a country place
where a book of leaves began when you were young.
The desperate colors, amazingly profuse,
graced the ground and limbs where leaves clung.
The air above the branches was ablaze
in daylight. The leafy gloom below was deep.
Callow judgments underneath the trees
would yield the leaves I felt I had to keep.
Before we had arrived, the wind had blown
a million crisping ones into a pile.
You watched me run and eagerly leap in.
And as you watched, I wanted you to smile.
And as your son, I needed you to laugh.
But driving back, your male silence forebode.
The point at which our lives were cut in half
was no more than a few years down the road.
My book of leaves, untouched, continues to grow.
It opens by itself, and then it shuts.
Why do my thoughts always drift towards you
when some new sadness burgeons in my guts?