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(shaking like a leaf)



I have seen you, shaking like a leaf,

Quivering in the cool of fall,

Looking more and more like a butterfly,

As your wings stiffen for a final flight.


I have tried to hold you in my palm,

And warm the essences of your marrow,

As your edges yellowed in the sun

Then dried to yellow-red.


Perhaps, red is the broken stem bleeding,

And gold the memory of spring,

When you warmed yourself closest to the sun,

In the safety of height.


But now, the gravity of the situation,

This midnight sleep on death row,

Among those who have finished leaving,

Why have they fallen from grace?


And though you've never jumped before,

Your heart has now turned to stone,

The star's teardrops paint targets

For the bulls-eye autumn winds.


Perhaps, we should have spoken with the birds

Concerning this desperate plunge.

They have tested the air and returned

To know a salvation from the dark.


So, the ground now circles you,

Like a buzzard waiting patiently.

Will you now take this first,

And final flight,


To rejoin your friends, the squirrels,

Below in their romping,

To turn cartwheels with the wind,

To be blown and never return home again?


                                                                                   ~~~ by Michael Chaussee



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