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"A Walk in Sunset Woods"

You always loved the autumn woods, and so
when it was time for you to say goodbye
we thought how pleasant it would be to go
among the umber trees. The sunset sky
was filled with floating leaves whose whispering
assured us they'd be back again in spring.

Something moved invisibly in the air.
The squirrels stopped their squabbling, to wait
within their high domain of twigs and cones.
The twilight glowed in incandescent flare
and kindled sudden gold fires in your hair.
Through lucent skin, your silhouetted bones
burned brief and black. I saw your eyes dilate,
then you were gone, and where you stood was bare,

Except for this: a filigree of gold
lay on the ground, its minute tracery
and brittle fretwork all you left for me,
this leaf whose thin fragility I hold,
trembling in my palm, alive and warm:
the forest's gift, and your eternal form.


copyright November 1998
Jerry Jenkins

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