I look back through Novemember’s
just-hanging-on leaves, the negative space
of our promises to drive through Malabar’s
winding road, taking in October’s blasts of color.
The weeks have whipped by, the leaves ignoring my
requests to stay, to never fall away, and my melancholy
drips bitter without the sweet.
Then I see our love’s first fruits hanging
on you, lying on you like so many apples,
our children’s morning sweetness, their bodies’
hard softness, wild hair, pokey elbows,
squishy bellies and meaty feet. They grow
unconditionally from our branches, buds,
and blossoms. They grow their own stems and leaves
and seeds and develop their own autumn flavors.
We drop away when we are ripe
thankful for what we are
what we have
and what we miss.
The rubied pearls of pomegranate
sparkle in their halved bowl,
the depth of red juice filling in the gaps
where the membrane segments and cradles
the seeds like yolks in whites in shells.
The full leafed plants languish
in the November garden
while the children push their root
systems into their still-warm earth,
crushing the bright arils between their teeth,
exploding the tart-sweet mysteries
of love’s reciprocity, of grasping and giving.
Through the course of
preoccupation with understanding
I keep shadowed
under the canopy of a forest
built with efforts of every shape:
goldened oaks, and old worries,
fired maples and malcontent,
bronzed birches and weeping brokenness,
flamed crab-apples and crooked-perfection;
the leaves are snapping free of the twig,
while mistakes release to the noisy wind.
Watch, watch the light beam through branches,
all barreness revealed and revealing
the turns of days and nights
growing and sleeping under the steady skies,
the reciprocity of love’s vulnerability and strength,
its whispered song of faith.