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It seems the leaves know that they’re done
with green of photosynthesis:
loosing their stems from tendril grasp,
they drop, but glide so far from tree
you wouldn’t think that leaves so far
had come from distant oak or birch
but for the form they clearly bear.

Their gliding draws my admiration:
Energized from loosing free,
though similar in species’ name,
leaves that seemed alike on tree,
now individual in flight,
differ in distance and descent,
distinctive in each solo glide.

Uniquely airfoil in design,
they fly to landing places where
gravity settles them in place
to make their compost-contribution,
give back to earth what they first took,
and leave, by breakdown and decay,
a legacy of rich resource.

Francis Fike is retired from teaching English at Hope College, Holland, Michigan. He is the author of several books of poetry and serves as a contributing editor to Perspectives.

Photo: Public domain, CCO license.