Walking by the creek

Paul Wong
Louis Brown/Daily

the leaves gather at my feet, like

children eager to hear a story

from their second grade teacher.

Only these leaves pay more attention.

A swirling mass of brown, gold, and green

cascade down from the treetops that reach up into the sky.

Above the trees, gray and white clouds cover the sun.

The sun wrestles for victory, peeking out briefly.

Then it is gone.

A gentle breeze pushes me along my way.

The rusty park gate creaks a solemn farewell

as I make my way down the gravel

drive of the apple orchard.

I walk further along and see

Couples coupling, and cider giving warmth

to the hands of those

forgetting that just because it”s late

Fall

doesn”t mean it”s also an early winter.

Without gloves

my hands are warmed from within the oversized

sleeves of a gray, faded sweater.

My jeans now feel snug

in their sixth straight day on my body.

A dog whose leash drags lazily behind him greets me

a short distance from the orchard.

He sniffs my feet curiously.

Once, Twice.

A grateful master snatches my new friends collar

gasping a thank you with the same breath lost in the chase.

Continuing my stroll down the street I see

porches full of grinning gourds and leering skulls

as children count the days until

they can scare each other silly.

At least until the streetlights come on.

The dusk comes that much earlier,

when you don”t want your day to end.

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