Falling Out
It takes years for babies to develop
the trust inherent in dry autumn
leaves hurling themselves from the top
of each heavy elm, oak, maple, burning ash.
Each step is falling, for babies, lifting
a foot and watching the ground, watching
in case it suddenly disappears.
The sudden disappearance of the earth
does not concern leaves, who throw
themselves spinning toward the ground.
Each moment in autumn, another leaf
banks on that trust, and falls.  The earth
has caught the leaves for years, and babies.
Having finally learned to trust the earth,
I throw myself often, into life --
caught in my spinning, sadness, melancholy,
autumn strikes my chest.
It has caught me this year but next
year, maybe, I'll throw myself and be spinning
the earth disappeared below me, no autumn
come to relieve me
and you gone.

4 November 1999