trust fall

tree2

The first thing to go is the leaves on the oak in the back.

This year she is three,

singing Psalm 1A with gusto.

She is six and no one can guess she spied

with her little eye

the rims on the stroller wheels.

Who knew strollers had wheels anyway?

He is nine and wants a laser security system

for his bedroom because of his sisters.

He believes I can teach him to build it.

The first thing to go was the leaves on the oak in the back.

Last year

the leaves were raked into

where the concrete was –

where I had heaved a mallet

to see it crack

hit again to deepen the break

with everything that was in me –

grief, failure, loss

poured out, broke up, what was impossibly hard

and was left in the bin or around the garden

at the end of the day.

The work made me the best kind of tired

and sleep was sweet again.

The first thing to go was the leaves on the oak in the back.

At a house not yet on the market because their dad had died 3 months before.

All five of them

now waiting, now watching,

now grown, now grieving.

Taking turns to be recognized.

To turn off the stove.

Their mom was sick and the leaves and the silence settled around her –

except sometimes when they would gather into piles

in her memory and the piles would explode

with squeals of delight from an uncovered child

from decades passed.

Five decades and the first thing to go had been the leaves on the oak in the back.

yet

The first thing to go in my perception of fall –

what’s predictable fell to steadfast

unchanging fell to dynamic

disappointment fell to hope

and

The first thing to go will be the leaves on the oak in the back –

and the best things are next.

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