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Fieldston Fall

On Waldo Avenue by the school drive
the leaves have turned. Silly as a drunk
with splendour, they preach
the happiness of Too Much.

They stand like painted fire, each tongue or hand
of flame both luminous and distinct,
burning such slow fuel,
you’d think they’d never fall.

And then they do. I see them — light as light
on waves, among the tall-masted trees,
anchored on green estates
by quiet, private streets.

They shimmer in the glass of bay windows,
sprawl over tennis courts, driveways, and astonish
the silver cars with purple,
as soft as tinsel paper.

The trees have hit the jackpot. Around each trunk
lie fortunes of these bright crisp dollar bills.
The roots get more and more.
The branches soon grow poor.

A summer’s savings now lie in the grass,
till smoking men in khaki overalls
sweep the shining fistfulls
into black bags, like smoldering coals.

For even here the fall turns. Garbage collectors
haul the leaf bags back to city dumps.
The streets resume the simpler,
more common lines of winter.

Ben Markovits

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