Autumn This Year

If there is a god, she’s beaming now,
showering us
with the year’s last sunlight.

She has decreed each tree’s schedule and color.
Maples are the first to turn—flame red—
the first to fall.

Dogwood leaves hang on, the color of zinfandel wine.
Gingkos change slowly into golden fans.
Oaks wait and wait.

Other leaves, parched from little rain,
just turn brown—
litter for leaf-blowers.

I revere these leaves, too.
Green, they sustained me last spring
when I was afraid.

My father is taking morphine now.
May God take him in her arms
before all the trees are bare.

Jacqueline Coleman-Fried

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