Breath bereft of cost, a heft across white lines, rolling
turned and tossed, skin folded in on self,
Like a gift box of inlaid rosewood dream whorls
unfurled leaves now a youthful green, later mature gold
finally the crispy russet brown of decay
Daily on my commute, I watch the cycle of leaves, of lives, a love
Manifest in this tree tunnel beside Westmoreland park
Evidence of birth growth death is never completely lost
gutter pilings, backyard blowers, slick patterns on walkways
a simple reminder to put workaday woes in perspective
Fallen alder whirligig bursts against highway median
as cars pass, an explosion of canopy tree annual debris
eliciting at least one brief smile from rush hour commuter
up close, the veins of a leaf are like so much tatted lace
in decay, its geometry more beautiful yet for imminent demise.
Still we fear death, and wish that like the leaves,
we could return, wearing coats of fresh colors.
Joshua H. Baker has published writing in publications such as Latitude, Gnu Journal, and Adirondack Review. He lives with his wife and pets in Oregon, where he hikes as much as he can.