®

Today's poem is by Shawn Sturgeon

The Leaf King

It begins like this: one hand on the rail,
while the other wants to clutch sky. I fell
once, from a house three floors high, survived to rise
again. This is how it begins, my friend,
the feet against the trunk, the monkey hunch,

as hand by hand we find our way to top tips
where the slim branches breathe, and illusory
leaves make their cushions of green. From such things,
I am falling, missing leaves, losing my head—
I screamed, was night, and the small things came out

and multiplied, dividing what we knew
into piles, few, pitiful and damp.
My hands cramped, I became live oak, sliding
this way toward you, under-heaven, under-root.
What is risen looms, but I am not the sky.



Copyright © 2003 Shawn Sturgeon All rights reserved
from The Southeast Review
Reprinted by Verse Daily® with permission

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