the dry leaves dance,
but the earth stands still


a hesitation


like one last squeeze of Mother’s hand
before taking the teacher’s

while the fog is crisp
and the sun is soft,
the mornings drag
like stale cigarettes
in a prison guard’s mouth,




as the world falls,
she soaks in hot springs,
shedding summer’s robe
and painting in brilliant
gold and then white

only for you to stain her canvas
with fumes and false promises


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