River and Leaves

A red doorway of leaves blows open
into a room filled with mourners.
I smell each blackened leaf:
I had forgotten it was September 30th.
His voice must be trapped in the stem
of this red one I put in my pocket.

A few months ago the river was blue-brown.
My friend and I arrived
where lily pads sent white and yellow
blossoms up: floating gazebos. Minnows
tickled the backs of my knees.

The lilies have shriveled into old hands.
Brown water slides toward the city,
bearing acorns. Leaves drop off in wet arms.

I leave the river, pass the junkyard
of apples fallen by the path. River
and leaves: I go to bed.
I hear it is good to mind your dreams.
Mine often smell of soil. I put
the red leaf under my pillow for luck.

Awake. A vase: hours breathe inside.
I can’t remember my dream. September
gold flowers fade as they open.

Moon on water. Dark birds
in bright trees. Monarchs head south.
Edges shift and disappear.


originally appeared in Folio (1987-1988)

Published by

Kenneth Pobo

Kenneth Pobo has six full-length collections of poetry and, including Ice And Gaywings, twenty chapbooks. His latest book, from Blue Light Press, is called Bend Of Quiet, and Booking Rooms in the Kuiper Belt is forthcoming from Urban Farmhouse Press. Ken began writing at age fifteen. He teaches creative writing and English at Widener University in Chester, Pennsylvania. He and his partner and two cats enjoy gardening, music, and the Wisconsin Northwoods. Catch Ken’s radio show, Obscure Oldies, on Saturdays from 6:00-8:30 pm EST at WDNR 89.5 FM.