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Jennifer Michael Hecht – Ⅰ



Meditation Instead of Sweeping




The leaves on this balcony

perform the kind of avalanche

that creeps up on you like midlife.


That is how surprised and grateful

I am to see them. We brush them

with our hands, not having

a rake. Proper. Not having

a proper rake. This balcony

is our terrace, twelve-feet long

but only two-feet wide.

In spring snow melts, and

the leaves develop into focus.


The balcony is a line drawn

Down the end of our apartment,

Greened by bogus turf we unrolled.

Playing on the balcony we roll back

And forth like marbles in a groove

(unable to swap spots),

getting leaf shreds on us. Later,

these shreds are drawn into

our rooms. How long before

one queens itself by reaching

the farthest wall within? Will

we hear a ping?


Yes. And then ten hundred

pings, as a thousand other

leaf shreds hit the far wall

of our apartment. Then

the question is how thick

the shreds are on the ground.

Later, how high they grow.


Then someday the rooms are

full, I suppose, and eject or bury

us. Compared to that, these

few hundred leaf shreds on our

floor are essentially nothing. Indeed,

they indicate the air above them

and the tremendous freedom we

have to move in its open spaces.