Signs of Fall
By Don Iannone
Today a rust-colored leaf fell quite helplessly
from the large maple tree in the front yard.
There was no wind.
It was just its time to let go.
I listened as a stateman-like bluejay squawked nonstop,
forewarning us of swirling red-tail hawks,
who eyed the plump young morning doves, sitting in pairs
in the red cherry trees in the back woods.
The bluejay's shriek poked the air,
like sharp needles chisling colorful upper arm tattoos.
We found two writhing baby garter snakes
in the garage earlier in the week.
Both wore bright yellow necklaces--
the sort a mother gives her daughters
to wear at their debutante ball.
The flowers are enroute to seeds,
and their nectar runs sweet,
enticing full-bloom monarch butterflies
to cling much longer to their sticky honey.
Another Labor Day has passed,
and the kids stand in bunches along the road,
awaiting the golden rod-colored school buses
that carry them off to noisy classrooms,
filled with rosy-cheeked, wide-eyed youngsters,
who swap larger than life stories
about the summer that is gone,
like their innocence, once the teaching begins.
I long for a closer look at the fallen leaf,
but settle instead to let go of it,
along with my clinging to long sun-filled days.
My winter spirit is early this year, and my soul
is already warming itself by the blazing fireplace.