Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Under my feet

San Leandro Creek early this morning, 
so still, unmoving, only a shudder or two from frozen. 
Under my feet, points of light twinkle 
from the deep litter of dead leaves, each light 
a leap off a frosted drop sparkling like a star,
adding brilliance to a damp and dark 
forrest floor littered with corpses, 
but how they lie lovely in their graves, 
greens and yellows faded or completely gone, 
but at least they have me, a grateful woman
for this carpet of gold and brown 
under my feet where I spot a fresh leaf, 
still yellow, others gold or dull green, or grey
as if born at the last minute 
then dropped from the exhausted arms 
of these old trees. Just beyond I see
pure brown earth from which swollen roots bulge 
silent and battered as if they popped 
out of the ground in a plunge for air.
I can’t take my eyes off that sad disarray
of skins cast off  by the eucalyptus trees, 
as if in a rage about the shortness of everything 
they are tearing off their clothes.  
I find a long thin branch on the ground. 
It serves well as a walking stick to steady me 
up the slippery slope where my car waits. 
Just one last look around before I go. 
I'm pleased that all this winter dead-- 
its silence and bareness, its sharp chill--
doesn't carry me off to melancholy,
instead takes my hand and squeezes it.