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by Judy Goldstein Botello

Now hangs the heron-haunted mist
Risen imperceptibly from blue summer smoke
(Like the veil of loneliness that sometimes falls,
Suddenly, across an unsuspecting smile)
And the farthest forest pools
Grow darker and more secret still
(Like long-forgotten eyes remembered
For a moment, at the edge of sleep.)
The oak and maple drop their withered tears
Mechanically, their grief
Already more recalled than real
(So weeps a heart grown old, grown old.)

The cold ground sleeps beneath a brown shroud.

Between the earth and silent mist
One lone leaf of mindless gold
Hangs suspended, burns, and sings
Loudly, of nothing, to unhearing things.

And whether I turn sadly to the shadowed pools
Or, sighing, watch the sky-hung herons throng,
I am gold-leaf haunted, and the cool air
Echos always with that most indifferent song.


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