Beneath the Falling Leaves

Left behind in this forest
I never know which version
of myself will emerge,
This machine updated over
decades, years, months,
days and hours and minutes –
I never know what is trapped
behind these lines.

Left behind in this forest
I never know where I’ve been,
On pickets or on marches,
Pinned down in the snow or
carrying trays as a servant,
Swathed in scarlet banners or
restrained with a straitjacket
of shirt and tie.

Left behind in this forest
I never know who I love –
Myself or everyone else,
One or many, few or all,
Those that scream in
angry faith to the deep skies or
those that pray alone,
Maria, Maria.

Left behind in this forest
I never know who I am, who I was,
who I will be –
The lost child, the soldier,
the physician, the star-cross’d lover,
Alone or together,
Happy or sad,
Only ever a mere poet.

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