I’d been moving – hating it –
carrying boxes of books
from the trunk of my car and into the basement
when, for no reason other than my suddenly noticing it was spring,
I sat on the lawn
and opened a book of poems
I had bought but never bothered to read.
Then a large oak leaf,
which had held on through blizzards and rain,
and floated overhead, causing a shadow
to cross the white page
like a bird flying by
before skidding on curled points
several feet across the asphalt driveway.
For a few short seconds
I couldn’t decipher what had entered the world of the poem.
I’d been thinking bird,
but had just read the word "table,"
and what I saw was neither
a leaf on its wingtips skittering to a trembling halt
in the sunshine
like a small piece of furniture.
I closed the book I’d been reading,
poems written by a woman from Murphysboro,
Illinois, I’d never met. The leaf
bucked on its tapered legs,
clicking a little,
lighter than air – which was also the name of the woman’s book –
the pages of which came alive
in my hands, although I’d remained perfectly still
and could detect no breeze.