So what, leaves scurry across Madison Square Park’s stoned paths.
Unbending characters as they fall through the air.
Too dead already to leave a cicatrice upon their wombs,
They find themselves again alive in the afterlife
Giving voice to loneliness.
And the wind itself, which kindly aborts leaves
Before their deciduous infects the trees,
Maintaining its cyclic taunting,
As does the external world of interaction-mingling.
In its silence, we’re left to ourselves, to ignore the social.
We do not see nor hear, nor need.
But there, again. It submits to busyness.
With audible leaves who know quite obviously how to behave together.
No time for contemplation where the wind is concerned.
Leaves don’t chatter among themselves about social norms or seasonal etiquette.
And until one becomes its branch’s sole survivor,
not even self-awareness will it have.
No sense of being a leaf, a free mind to enjoy the journey it’s on.
Have you heard a leaf run across the pavement?
An unmistakably desperate scurry toward nothing
Because choice never existed in a life fated for death.
How could it have been sprouted with any greater purpose,
Than to die?
It could never truly be, with any being outside itself,
But only coexist with other pawns for the duration of life before death.
Why is the leaf said to be more alive, or alive at all while on its branch?
Only because it grows, until it doesn’t.
And so death sets in.
Are we as alive as the leaf?
Do you remember when you stopped growing?
Photograph by Mike Gutkin