I move through the woods in ritual
The trees have shed their leaves like
Third sons and eldest daughters,
They cling bravely until the wind uncurls their hands
and bears them away from home.
A scavenger, I search them out, hold them between finger and thumb,
Their last embrace.
Sometimes I will pluck a fading life from a branch,
melded amber and crimson,
the dregs of sun in their veins,
offered in the last vibrance of summer’s heat.
At home, I press them between pages,
tiny spells of weight and gravity
cast to keep their color.
I know this magic,
Autumn and I are kindred in this,
Our eyes are the same soft green and sepia of hiraeth
cradles of remembrance,
nets always cast back into memory.
Like all memories
There are a thousand useless,
The umber of old blood, trodden underfoot,
the seconds that dripped by unmarked.
But we hold the fragile, happy few,
High upon a shelf
the glowing phosphorus of laughter
The currant red of a last kiss
Returned to and returned to
Like an unanswered prayer.