The Sere and Yellow Leaf
by Anne Britting Oleson

Something sad about a leaf:
the small yellowed one, hanging
from a low branch of the maple
in the front yard. Early. Perfect.
An overachiever trying to beat
the calendar, to mark the coming
of fall, in mid-August.
Wait! Have we missed summer?
A single five-lobed warning flag,
slowing traffic, first raising anxiety,
then sadness: so much undone;
so much done, but now all done.
A shock, like finding, at the bottom
of a sock drawer, a brittle yellow artifact
from the kindergarten autumn
of a long-grown child,
pressed between clouded waxed paper.

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