The Blower of Leaves
Always there is sky after sky waiting to fall. A million brilliant ambers twisting into the thinning October sun, flooding my eyes in a curtain of color. My yard is their landing strip. Today I bow to the power of negative space, the beauty of what’s missing—the hard work of yard work made harder without you, while the stiff kiss of acorns puckers the ground. I am a fool. Even as the red impatiens wither and brown, they are still lovely. I feed the gaping mouths of lawn bags with their remains. All this time I was waiting for a heavy bough high above to crush us, but really I was waiting for you to say enough. It was a feeling that swirled inside me, a dark congruence, a tempest of the blood pulsing enough, enough. How I had mistaken it for ordinary happiness. I can forgive the wind rustling the aging oaks, the clusters of leaf mush trapped along the fence line, but with you there is no forgiveness. Only refuse. Only the lawn’s dying clover and weeds masquerading as grass. Nothing is ever easy or true, except the leaves. They all fall. Dependable as a season.
From Misery Islands (CavanKerry Press, 2014). Copyright © 2014 by January Gill O’Neil. Used with the permission of the author.