Here Among The Leaves
Under a burning maple tree
by Jeffery Conway
I think of the plastics factory
where I worked in my teens:
the bright chunks I'd load
onto the conveyor belt for
twelve hours at a time under
a flaming bare bulb. I'd watch
through my cracked safety glasses
as those synthetic rocks floated
toward the giant grinder, were shredded
and mulched into a sad confetti-but you,
you bring me back, your polished blue/
green eyes, that dopey hat,
this cheap Acrylic blanket.
On your outstretched arm I rest
my heavy head somewhere
between your elbow and armpit.
Big, rather ugly birds are in the tree,
as is one tiny branch with leaves
still green at 2: 00 on a Tuesday
in this bullshit cold of November.
Fakish leaves fall every now
and then: a red one just to my left,
an orange one a few inches
from your exposed ear-it drifts down
to this small square of dead and dying
things in NYC-I watch it hit
sharp blades of green under
the glow of your denuding tree.
A car horn blows somewhere on Perry Street,
the wind hums like an old machine,
your breath comes in bursts like a cheering crowd,
and we, at thirty-three, are here to see
off the leaving leaves through eyes
suddenly turned toward a sky splitting in two:
overhead a jet silently carves a line of white
across the glassy sheet of blue.