A Crowd of Leaves

I close my lids and
leave—it all leaves for a moment.

The leaves:
their concave outlines made
rigid under the High Summer beat.
They speak
and their voice is a thousand
thousand rasping blades touching hands—
they are nature’s singing razors.
They cut only the air
and in such a mild way that
the sound—so calming and hard—is
irreproducible and irreproachable.

Through the red of my inside-lids
and the pressurized
thump of my animal pulse,
another heartbeat climbs to the audible:
a pulse of clattering tree-knives,
the come-and-go lap of
cool water against a concrete lakeshore,
aromas of searing food, and
muffled voices coalescing to form one solid
frequency in a crescendo of human energy—
a base and carnal din.

We—as humans—have been baked
sharp around our edges,
in the kiln of desire and denial.
I can smell the colors of
uncounted robust souls trapped within
the selfsame carapace as those who
have been beaten and tempered by
the hammer and tongs of an unrelenting life.

We, too, clank together our jagged shoulders,
elbows, feet, fingers, and tongues,
but our music is unnatural—chaotic;
our songs are strictly human.
And, as we pass and bump and
touch and hold each other in the search
for love and understanding and being,
we cut more than just the air.
We will always cut more than just the air.

2 thoughts on “A Crowd of Leaves”

  1. The beauty of your words hurts in such a lovely way. Man, Nick, I hope you keep writing, hope you keep trying, because it would be a loss if you didn’t. I love it. Your words have a sharp power, a relentless mercy and mercilessness. I’m not sure how you do it.


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