to, with, Carol

We have been wed, you and I
not only together but with and into and . . .
and under now the leaf-kicked
tracks of the generations
we have longed again to re-create among the leaves.

We require no language outside our senses
sharing as we all do—
the two of us, the leaves,
the memories and the remembered
sound of yester-leaves crisp-crunching under foot.
We trail at the feet of our fellow yester-persons.

The sight of leaves fluttering in front of us
and the dry smell of autumn
that we would not help re-create to share
among us all—we, all who have

“talked our extinction to death.”
But we can afford to treat the issue gently
as our seemly gesture to Earth
until all are finally buried and mulched
under the last and heaviest soothing snow-and-footfall.

Now, perhaps, it might be courteous to live it lastly,
to learn to lie quietly, harmlessly
among shades of brown and rust of oak leaves
determined to remind us
of our familiar contracts,
or to abide by wisdom to restrain
the exhaustion of our winter distances.

I do not remember promising to return
to next year’s falling shades.
I have had occasion to long in my autumn folly
to have kept an imagined promise of staying.

From first consciousness
we were brought to an edge of memory
in our neglected summers until
we learn out of time finally to enjoy among them
the return from green to gold, red, brown, yellow.
To green, like

Penelope’s live tree that found her way
into our garden, by its seed self-planted We remember,
you and I wherever,

Persephone’s red blossoms, the gift of her leathery fruit,
your shared beads of pomegranate,
your gesture of our happy equality now
and in our ancient seasons.

Richard Fenton Sederstrom was raised and lives in the Sonoran Desert of Arizona and the North Woods of Minnesota. Sederstrom is the author of seven books of poetry, his newest book, Icarus Rising, Misadventures in Ascension, published by Jackpine Writers' Bloc, was released last winter. Read other articles by Richard Fenton.