Today's poem is by Sandra Meek

Spreading Ash

What's falling isn't her but
September—maple leaves withered
to burnished claws, crushed paper fists
skating across asphalt. She
is a gray arc shimmering

between pines, a winter breath
at summer's end, a small packet

of flung ash. Fired, her limbs' long
ivory wands graveled down
to beads like sea
glass-cloud white, salmon,
the lime-green patina
bronze breathes—the grains surfacing
finer and grayer, more

like distance, what her eyes fixed
in the end: the window heavy from holding

the lit room after dark; even the woods
inked out, reflection a barrier
to the sputtering stars, glass
a guillotine's silver blade severing light

from the storm blowing in. Absent even her
labored breath, autumn is a golden
serration. All bite
and hollow. How I would

listen for it in her sleep, that burdened
fluency: like a stone skipping
across a lake—two, three,
four times before sinking
somewhere short of the glittering
horizon I first knew

as home, aspens all quavering
quartertones and letting go
branches' bleached ribs;
leaves like tattered
paper lanterns, candlelight fused
to rice paper giving lie
to burn, to dissolve, as if
that stone were still skipping
beyond my view, sparking
water's skin, autumn's ashen light
all that's ghosting my hands.

Copyright © 2012 Sandra Meek All rights reserved
from Road Scatter
Persea Books
Reprinted by Verse Daily® with permission

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