Flint Hills

And So It Was The Day a Country Gentleman Took a New Wife

             -- for M. Laur and Aude Cosette, and for Scott Joplin   


Leaf from sycamore, Platanus occidentalis, 

breaks from branch, rattles to earth. 

Well, of course. This is fall and wind and Kansas,

20 degrees Fahrenheit forecast for Thursday. 


The break, an audible snap, severs spent

green, shatters ennui of rocking chair, exposes 

shades of summer, as he and she, and the tree, 

move into winter radiance, a mottle of whites:


green to grey to white, yes, . . . one after another, 

. . . another, forward and then back to beginning, 

rhythm certain as the arc of hunter’s moon, dark 

and fertile as heat of absence and disquiet of solace 


through which they have waited and trusted, yes, 

a leaf might come from branch like this, bending 

into evening, grotesque in elegant opposition 

to some ordered/disordered union with trunk. 


Can all this, he wonders, really be—he and she—

the upper branches radiant in reflection on window 

newly alive to the night: lamp light, open book, 

quiet talk, slow notes of a drag, a prance, a march 

onward, the must of their being taking rise?