Poem: Autumn Aubade

BY ROGER PAO

Do not grieve the piecemeal leaves: they say: for unto dying:the homeless shall survive: the laborersdiscover innocence:

the minorities one with the whole rhyme of America: dear misshapen leaves:leaves who are wholly our people:

torn from the skeleton: is your heavenunto dying in the blackening compost: the ample soil scorched beneath each schoolchild’s

footpaths?: an ambulance emerges from the whimsical smoke: what war today?: an apple-cheeked reporter on the beat

breathes her purple lips into the microphone: she wants to calm us down into a well-quaffed America: just close

enough to the scene of the accidentto glimpse the caressof a torch song sunset’s shadows cascading down a burnt sienna building:

to not leave the Capra geography: a quartz pane separatesus from savagery: a eulogy of names on glossy ebony: not the nightmare

but an attempt to distill truth from rubble: disrobed: de-boned: essentials we clutched on toas immigrants: across the Bering Strait:

on the Mayflower: into Ellis Island: ships with African slaves lashed to mold-laden racks: boat people from eastern Europe:

from Asia: that even in the urgency of an escape into entrya river bordering Mexicolaps frothily into a shoreline shimmering

beyond disbelief: a river can grin: the harbors of sidewalksswell with leaves:acres of tawny-blue with reddish-tan:

gutters full of pilgrims: soldiers in Vietnam:in Gettysburg: who never left their battlefieldto comprehend how a heart can break

so easily: that the depth of the voice of a formally handsome white gentlemanin his mid-sixties may funnel

our soliloquies into sound bites:approval ratings: electionreturns: a country as divided as two attorneys who always

find pies halved unequally: a couple braves the chilled cemetery air: one is sobbing into a plaid green-orange handkerchief: the other

refuses to look up from that gravestone: how could theyhelp themselves?: the winterconfronts their dignity.

Comments