Published on Academy of American Poets (https://poets.org)


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. 

Credit


From Misery Islands (CavanKerry Press, 2014). Copyright © 2014 by January Gill O’Neil. Used with the permission of the author.

Author


January Gill O’Neil

January Gill O’Neil is the author of Misery Islands (CavanKerry Press, 2014), winner of a 2015 Paterson Award for Literary Excellence, and Underlife (CavanKerry Press, 2009). She lives in Beverly, Massachusetts.

Date Published: 2014-01-01

Source URL: https://poets.org/poem/blower-leaves