17 March 2007

Leaves Dry

What is the sound of her sweeping?

Leaves dry as an Egyptian desert rattled by invisible wind
an ancient Russian woman scrapes her giant witch’s broom around like a magic wand

Light as ash the leaves swirl and toss until
against their will
she surrounds them

Conquered they huddle
Her oversized dust pan lifts and stuffs them into the old pram
now pregnant with leaves
Swollen, it overhangs it wheels

As the conquered are subdued and gathered
Their compatriots swirl beneath her feet
Though she torments them with broom and dust pan, they continue to come at her
She dominates, but never triumphs

What is the sound of her sweeping?

It is sunrise awakening a new day
The beating of rugs
The milkman's call
Voices echoing in the courtyard

A fall day in Central Asia
Only the morning is fresh
By nightfall
Overcome by the smoke of leaves burning
We shut the windows to keep it out

October 2003

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