Raking Leaves – Martin Willits, Jr.

there was a drizzle of floating leaves in the air
no longer the green of newness
but browned
yellowed and dark spotted
dulled- red
wrinkled as my skin

since when has the world
become so frayed and frail
am I just noticing
what has been here all along

especially when I was younger
I splashed through the crunch
tossing them
as if they were wishes
for the snow tinged days
curdling around the corner like a python

when did I become so old

I accuse the leaves
I grouse at the snow
stumping and shivering
at the slightest hint of a chill

where is the artistry of fall

this is such a nasty
troubling journey
these musty days are mysteriously straining

who is responsible for aging my face
whitening my thinning hair
adding a paunch to my body

the leaves are muscling their way through the wind
searching for the best place to rest
and when they’re near
they scrape across the face of the ground

I am older than when I first started

I lean against the wire whisk rake
and notice the hopelessness of keeping up

children are singing throwing-up-leaves songs

a squirrel carries a found nut to hide into the ground
and I will find it buried in my garden when I dig next year

when did I become older than my father

an early snowflake lands like a leaf on my nose
and slides to a memory of sleds

I am back in a leaf pile.
Msrtin Willitts Jr

Martin Willitts Jr is a retired Librarian. He has poems in Blue Fifth Review, Comstock Review, Nine Mile Magazine, and others. He has 11 full-length collections including “How to Be Silent” (FutureCycle Press, 2016).