This poem is taken from Stand 225, 18(1) March - May 2020.

Eric Paul Shaffer Three Poems
Nin’s Leaf

In a letter, Nin sent a leaf she found. Stiff and elegant,
        the leaf was done with light, but retained the shape
earth and wind framed for fire. Through a long autumn

        on a sidewalk, the leaf had lost most of the matter
of green, and the lattice of veins was all that remained
when autumn wind blew the rest away. I lifted that leaf,

or what was left, the ridges, the stem, the wobbly boxes
        defining the edges between the leaf and the blue,
though most of each had now become the other. I gripped

the sturdy stem and gazed through to the world beyond.
        There were the mountains I know and sea and tide
breaking one way or another on the sand, and the sun I saw

        was the one that brings day to the sky and leaves
night behind. Empty space squared in the veins of the leaf
        now knew only air, the air we breathe as one.

Joe Dickie’s Last Hallowe’en
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