I sit in my car in late afternoon watching sunlight slant
through maple leaves and, stirred by a breeze,
observe how the light dapples
the seat beside me and the dashboard and my own arm.
I would love to be so easily moved as these leaves are moved,
to change and change back again
with so little thought. And having thought that,
I remember how soon the leaves will change utterly,
turning orange and yellow and red and then falling.
I don’t think I want that much change.
One car passes on the main road
and then another. I don’t look up and so they sound
like the same car passing or maybe the same string
of cars, over and over, like carousel horses
going around and around. The last time
I rode a carousel, it made me feel as giddy
as a child, as though I had spun backward in time.
Maybe the tree feels the same way each spring,
not thinking, “new leaves,” but, “Oh, here they are again,”
the five fingered maple leaves climbing back
to their old positions. If there’s a God
she must see us at least somewhat like that,
each generation springing up so unsurprisingly,
so exactly like the last. Not that we don’t go unrejoiced
or our love unrequited. But any fool can see
this tree I’ve parked my car beneath
loves being clothed. She quakes in the breeze,
ecstatic as any angel, that full of joy.


  1. The trees in the field clap their hands - the Bible

    This poem makes me want to find your tree and park under it by the side of the road and feel its joy.


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