Today's poem is by Rhina P. Espaillat

Man Raking Leaves

A man is raking leaves. It is October,
still warm this windless afternoon, a good day
for his laborious shuffle through blown russet,
amber and brown gold, between lawn and gutter.

He feels November coming, knows the lyrics
of that dark song it sings in eaves and chimney,
the way it has of stripping his last maple
down to the thinnest shadow. But for now,

the man is raking only those leaves
earliest to fall, in the light shade of others
still there where summer pinned them. He is reading
another message in their easy drifting,

answering with a gesture of his shoulders
pulled back to ease the spine, no longer limber
but willing to bend here in a light like honey
pouring around his body, stroking his body,

the rake, the leaves, the tree that drops them,
the grass they lie on. And he thinks, How simple,
again, again, to make this motion,
to know what October means, to be glad and tired.

Copyright © 2002 Rhina P. Espaillat All rights reserved
from Where Horizons Go
Truman State University Press

Reprinted by Verse Daily® with permission

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