There was a leaf warning
in effect—for all wooded areas—
in the apartments,
large accumulations expected
on sidewalks and on curbs
and in the yards, a great depth.
Raymond was the only leaf kicker
on duty. He kicked up the leaf
from the yards to the sidewalk
and from the sidewalk to the curb.
Sometimes, he found work gloves
or rakes—beneath it all,
lost or abandoned in the leaffall
where it had become too heavy.
Locally, it fell light and dry,
with leafscatter general,
even on the roads and the rooftops.
He could not keep the trails clear,
yet, still, he continued;
for, with rain and wind expected
by nightfall, there was a chance
of additional drifting and accumulation.
Without the constant kicking
the new trails would be lost.
When the grandfather clock no longer ticked,
the house kept its own schedule—snorts and
fumblings in the
dark and abrupt breezes.
I lay still as its experience creaked,
thinking that the same house must be dreaming
100 years of the same occupation
kept with one family in the same position,
scattered personal effects and not
but what if it was not just always so?
If something left in someone’s absence is
merely their effect, then what is it that
its throat could clear and say,
“I told you so.”