Leaves Never Lie - Poem by Matthew Morgan
I sail through the wind, full of anticipation and joy.
Landing with a thud, I do a somersault and crash on my back.
The dead sticks snap under me as the leaves grind in my mouth.
I roll over and run up the hill, my sneakers filling with loose gravel and sand as the leaves cascade around me, growing ever thinner and more spread out.
I mount the hill hoping that the pile will remain intact for just one more jump.
In ordered piles I rake the leaves, bending over to scoop them up, and carry them away.
Reckless and romantic thoughts fly threw my mind, like the multicolored leaves that flee from my arms, blowing behind me. Reaching the hillside I naively think of being young and irresponsible, jumping into the leaf pile below.
“How long ago that was, ” I tell the four towering oaks that stand in a straight line along the road, as they have for so many years.
With a wave of my arms the leaves fly from me and settle in the pile below.
I pick the excess leaves from the straight, red-coated teeth of the rake until it’s nothing but metal and paint, and then I turn from the hillside to gather more leaves.
The rake drags across the hard gravel of the lawn, spitting rocks through its sharp teeth.
I heft an armful of leaves and feel the dirt seep into my once clean flannel shirt.
I watch as the wind wastes my work and time, blowing leaves wildly across the yard.
I hurry to the hillside and fling the leaves down the hill wincing, part in anger and part in pain, as the rake’s head falls from its handle and strikes me in the leg.
With one strong kick I send the rake’s head down the hill, its crooked and rusted metal teeth rattle in the wind as it scatters leaves in its path.
I sneak out into the crisp autumn day, wary of any voices calling me back to the house.
Lately people have wished that I were like these giant old oaks that stand in the lawn.
Solitary looming figures, but you always know where they are, they’re predictable and never a surprise, nothing like the wind dancing leaves that fly from them each fall.
I grab a rake that leans against the house and begin scratching at the lawn like an old rooster, my multi-colored turtleneck only adding to the image.
I rake up a pile of leaves and clutch them close to my chest, flinching every now and then, as one blows away behind me.
I reach the hillside and throw the leaves to the wind, watching as the it whips them away.
Taking a seat there on the hillside I wait for the wind like a bus, to take me like a leaf, to where I want to go.
To where all the leaves go, to where a young boy stands awestruck at the top of a hill looking down on an absolute mountain of leaves.
To where an old man stands gratefully and undisturbed; allowed to count, one by one, a mountain of memories.
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