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I collect leaves,
walking alone
at dusk
in Kentucky autumn,
for you,
3000 miles away in Northern California
where climate
and the wheel of the earth do not
afford this turning blaze.

Colors like pumpkin,
like russet and
corn yellow.
Like deep scarlet,
pressed together with an iron
between sheets of waxed paper

to look like stained glass, held
to light of the sun.
To remind you of home,
of the seasons,
of me.

I collect colored leaves for you
just like I did
at five
when a red, lit leaf
looked like God’s magic
in my little hands.

© 1998, 2002, 2015 Dora E. McQuaid
From the Second, Expanded edition of the scorched earth and its compact disc companion the scorched earth: spoken.

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