the colors of leaving


umber trunks, endless silence,

a detachment so profound
the shiver of leaf, flower, bud
makes no difference.

(Alla Prima, Judith Skillman- Tar River Poetry vol. 57 no. 1)


rake away the chaff-shorn
scarves and headdresses
of oak and maple trees–
now standing in the distance
like jags and scratches
in white perfection, like
our words in the haze between
before and after.

sulking snowmen
watch the white run over
from the rooftops and stain
the soil blacker than the
glowing, icy street–
your deception in its purest form,
smooth silence and still cold
spinning off into a ditch.

the day you left was a
wild gust of warm dirt,
packed in by bare toes and
cradled in baby fingers that
drew back, writhing,
at the touch of a worm.
It rained later, and you
had taken my umbrella.

singing into seashells
to hear our voices echo,
her brown hair is longer
than the last picture in your
wallet, washed-out
by now, six summers later.
The dunes are dissolving,
wiped away to show more sky.

One year, under full moons
and candy apple crunches,
I whispered that I forgave you.
As the years pass, so their Creator
turns the soil, turns the heart back
to Himself, turns the tides in
and out again, and I embrace
the rhythm and let it take me.

And when the cherry tree sprouts
pink again, she will leave me,
like you did.
Only she will go with
trailing gowns and dancing roses,
vanilla cupcakes and forehead kisses,
a veil so white that it puts
the snow to shame
and leaves the sound of laughter,
dancing on and on
through a castle of silence and ice.



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