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Contents Page: April 1, 2011, vol 7 no 1

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John Samuel Tieman



still it's strange – autumn
longing for a crisp winter
Sunday after church

On my desk is a picture of two Japanese screens I saw last year at the art museum. On these screens are paintings of poems hung first from a cherry tree in spring, then from a maple tree in autumn. The petals, the leaves, the poems, each will blow away, I imagine, tomorrow. The poets are already gone. The picture is a souvenir.

My years have gone like that. Not that I expected any different. Still, I've always been lucky with my health, so I've always denied time and gravity their due. But just now, at sixty, I don't see as well as I used to. I need new glasses. My physician tells me Friday that I have the curse of my family, that one day I won't see at all.

I step outside. Each day deepens the color of the linden tree. My wife looks up from her gardening. She says, "the veins in the leaves." But I don't get the rest. Young women drive past laughing, their radio playing something I neither recognize nor like. Nothing is left of my youth. Nothing is left of last year. Nothing but old glasses, old poems, a souvenir, and the leaves which Phoebe sweeps from our porch.

I trust the autumn
the clarity of dying
oddly comforts me
a red leaf lands on my sleeve
it rests before moving on


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