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  • Jørn Earl Otte

"Turning over the leaf" -- April 9, #NationalPoetryMonth

Turning over the leaf

You were not the least bit arrogant

as you floated down to my lap from the maple tree

branch some twenty feet above me.

Landing on my right leg,

you noticed me, and picking you up,

I noticed you, too, and examined

how delicate the ridge, like a spine, jutting

up your center and spreading with veins

to reach the edge of your existence.

You were still green. Your life seemed to still have something to say.

Turning you over, I saw your face,

and you were my father,

and you were blue. There was blood

on your chin

and you were naked. My hand over your mouth felt nothing.

I held you.

I turned you over again and saw how,

like all the other leaves still hanging in the maple tree above us both,

there was a spot where you were connected to life

but also some holes where worms or disease

had eaten through your protective skin.

Still, I could see the spot where the cocoon once hung,

and I held you closer, knowing that,

for whatever falsehoods and maladies may have happened,

you had given something else a chance to hang on, get ready, renew

and be reborn.


I could see that you had once been young. I could see

what you wanted to become.

You laid there naked, and I held you,

and nothing has ever been as blue.


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