The Dead Leaf
by Lori Kean


I watched it through the blue-green bar of my upper
windshield while waiting for the light to change.
It was a Monday.
I sensed before it even happened that this pneuma of summer,
this once giver of shade and refuge would surrender its instinctive stronghold
right then and there while I sat mesmerized, solitary
witness to its ultimate, unseasonable demise.  It fluttered free from
the arthritic finger that was its home for all those long, cold months,
slipped, flipped and pirouetted, swirled around a no u-turn sign,
twirled along on the updraft of a bus for a breath or two,
hung moot in mid-air for just a brief instant,
an eyeblink instant -- the kind of instant where
everything, everything changes.
And then it finally swept across the glare of my glass
in a frenzied rush and was gone with a gust of dusty March air.
Just like that.  To where, I'll never know.
A horn behind me blatted its wealth of wisdom --
yes, yes, time to move along.






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