Turncoat

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The chlorophyll collects the light
then powers each leaf with green.
Still, the leaf’s rainbow
palette is always there.

When days, like candlesticks,
burn down, and shorten,
the leaf kicks off
her swaddling suit of green.

Now opaque green
sheds itself.
With their waxy coats removed,
the leaves appear worn through in places.

Light emerges.
The architecture of the forest
admits light as leaves
become transparent
as onion skin paper.
Responsive to the angle
of the sun,
leaves embark on their
autumnal quest.

Red light of oak draws me near.
On closer inspection, the leaf is brown
but something in the angle of the light
reflected crimson.

First the red, then the yellow, then the brown.
I’ve seen a fire flare,
then whimper,
whisper into mute ashes.

At home,
between white pressed leaves,
clean sheets of paper,
I try to tame fall’s flame.

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