Fallen Leaves

When I bend low in autumn

to gather fallen leaves

Each one holds a memory

I’m longing to retrieve.

My childhood home before me,

the window up above,

where I beheld each season

the maple tree I loved.

Mother was a gardner

raising corn for harvest.

Father was a builder

with wood and brick an artist.

We children ruled a kingdom

in summer we would seek

to exercise our power

over crawdads in the creek.

The golden leaves speak clearly

of fireflies in jars.

Dreaming by the campfire

and watching shooting stars.

Then the leaves fall silent.

Their voices disappear

Now rise as word on paper

to speak in later years.