the lesson of falling leaves

the leaves believe
such letting go is love
such love is faith
such faith is grace
such grace is god
 i agree with the leaves

From good woman: poems and a memoir 1968-1980. Published in 1987 by Boa Editions Ltd., Brockport New York. “the lesson of falling leaves” is originally from two headed woman.


Grandma we are poets
 for anpeyo brown

autism: from Webster’s New Universal Dictionary
and the Random House encyclopedia

in psychology a state of mind
characterized by daydreaming

say rather
 i imagined myself
in the place before
language imprisoned itself
in words

by failure to use language normally

say rather that labels
and names rearranged themselves
into description
so that what i saw
 i wanted to say

by hallucinations, and ritualistic and repetitive
patterns of behavior
such as excessive rocking and spinning

say rather circling and
 circling my mind i am sure i imagined
children without small rooms
imagined young men black and
filled with holes imagined
girls imagined old men penned
 imagined actual humans
howling their animal fear

by failure to relate to others

say rather they began
to recede to run back
ward as it were
into a world of words
apartheid  hunger  war
i could not follow

by disregard of external reality,
withdrawing into a private world

say rather i withdrew
to seek within myself
some small reassurance
that tragedy while vast
is bearable

From quilting poems 1987-1990. Published in 1991 by Boa Editions Ltd., Rochester, New York.