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J.P. Dancing Bear-II

Gacela of Autumn Leaves on the Moon

     for Juliet McCarter Latham


You keep the turning leaves from leaving—you keep

the turning leaves near the surface of the moon

under a craterous eye; a padlocked door buried

in dust. You keep your statue of Luna near the foot

of the stairs that leads up to your room, your room

on the moon. The walls build their square geometries

on the pocked kabuki face of the moon. Those little veins

and ridges of leaves: filling with dust, with dust—they too

become reprints of the moon. No golds or reds to their

expressions. No remembrances of green. Chalk

and constellations in the black sky. The earth rises, rises

out of the horizon—just as the ancient astronauts saw.

But the autumn leaves are not here, not here. You held

them as long as you dared. Held them to your own face

like an eye, to see what Persephone saw, and turned

loose your captives, releasing a sigh of relief—to re-leaf.