The Secret of Leaves

When I listen to the courtyard leaves,
secret whisperers of corners and cobbles,
their dry tongue twirls with syllables
of sacrosanct reds and yellows.

My skin, as their skin, is traced in line,
my silver hair in sync with their season.
I too have parted from the nourishing root
and wait to wither on these courtyard stones.

But that is not my end. I will reenter the soil,
feed the roots and sprout the leaves
and burst into the communion of color–
then I will know the marvelous secret of leaves
that even in death, have beauty to spend.

–Brad Skiff

Red Leaf

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