the promise of autumn

A birch wields it way toward
the grey haze of an icy sky,
with a golden pile of garments at its base,
shrivelling dry.

The birch is empty to be full:
barren, still it reaches,
still it forks its twigs upward
like a waiting hand
to catch the flurries of November,
wet and heavy
in the promise of a splendor
received, not produced.

But first there are the empty days
between foliage and flurries,
the windswept silence of autumn afternoons,
the waiting for more than vacancy —
for more than fall promises of itself…
the outstretching
toward the promise of a gift,
unknown.

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