Leaf Memories

The trees, glowing in colors golden and red,
now stand barren.
Fading splashes of color, nervous in the wind,
skitter across lawn and highway,
burrowing into nooks and corners,
tucked safely from the reach of garden rake.

No longer a source of amusement for smaller ones,
the leaves are unceremoniously tucked into plastic bags,
or raked to curb side.
There they await their disposal.

In earlier, less ecology-minded times,
they were raked by boisterous children.
Free from school for the day,
they romped in the leaves as they urged them
into piles to be burned.

Then, in the gathering autumn dusk,
all gathered around the blazing pyre,
their backs to the darkness.
The wavering fire lit hands and faces
as blue smoke rose into the darkness.

Cold hands were held out to the fire
in brief supplication and
silent figures daydreamed in the
dancing flames.

Potatoes, thrown into the pile when
it was set ablaze,
were raked out in good time.
Their skins charred and crisp
split open easily to reveal
the white flesh within.
“Would someone pass the salt?”