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The First Fall
January, 2001


The first fall was of maple blossoms,

and forsythia blossoms, and magnolia blossoms

whose burnt pink petals bruised by the shoes
of high‑heeled brides cling to sidewalks

and color the air with perfume

and decay; and the second fall was Adam's when

he said, "Let me taste," and then, "She made me."


Next week brings the fall of tulips

whose open fingers lose their grip: scarlet,

yellow, white as pillow slips they bend like

women who flatter day by day and then

let go. Don't speak to me of falling autumn

fruit or falling snow. That's not what counts.

In the spring God's lovely sin occurs, and afterwards

occur not seasons but inseparable consequences:
sap sticky on the rising branch; and leaves,

so delicate in their green, unfolding in the light

like braids of hair undone, and cut away.  

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