One of the things I remember most about the autumns of my
childhood is the scent of burning leaves. I miss that today. The following poem
is based on my memory of a time I spent with two of my cousins at my
grandparents’ house. We raked up a pile of autumn leaves and sat on wooden
crates watching—and smelling—the leaves burn at dusk on a cool October day.
By Elaine Magliaro
Two tall maple trees grow
in front of my grandparents’ house.
In late October
they shed their golden crowns.
When the fallen leaves
curl up like little brown bear cubs,
we rake them into a pile
at the side of the street.
As dusk arrives
Dzidzi sets our harvest afire
with a single match.
We sit on wooden crates
at the sidewalk’s edge,
watch the brittle leaves
blossom into golden flames,
smell autumn’s pungent breath.
From the pyre summer rises,
a small gray ghost,
and drifts away
into the darkening sky.
The three winners of Janet Wong’s
book Declaration of
Interdependence: Poems for an Election
year are Gretchen
, Bridget Wilson
. Congratulations to all of you!
Note to the winners: Please email me your names and addresses
and I will send the books off to you.