Sweetgum trees, with ruddy leaves like stars,
their scent fills autumn air
from darkened ground to morning sky.
Their trunks are long-stretched, rugged necks.
Or are they legs, in stockings dark and rough?
Do sweetgums walk at night?
Five-pointed flames are tender underfoot,
dry rustling snow of sweetgum leaves.
Red stars float down (and sometimes kiss my hair).
In drifts of leaves upon the ground
my walk disturbs a layered natural order,
stained-glass wines and reds are stripped away.
In blackened ferment where new earth is born,
a tuft of grass will sometimes show an August green,
untouched by all decay above its head.
© 7 Oct 2006 Heather Quinn