Leaf Pile Chorale
Julian Koslow

Leaf Pile Chorale

It’s a relief, frankly, the grey sky,
the grey air, pearl-grey stratus pulled 
low as a brim over the misty park,
the general withdrawal of things
into themselves: cold hands balled 
for warmth in stretched-out sweater sleeves;
the cat on the chair coiling itself up
whisker to tail like a rope before
sinking down to ears and purr.

The leaves huddle in heaps, forming
their support groups. We’re all in this
together, they crackle in their dry,
cidery voices. And anyway, it’s 
not so bad: being close to earth again,
no longer keeping watch, having to wave
the morning’s flag, or stand en pointe
all day in the chorus; do this, do that, 
turn your face toward the sun, 
hold your useless hands out for rain, 
applaud the moon as she passes, or write
hopeless love letters every night 
to the illiterate penpal stars,
to make some peace with our failings,
and our bed in the acorn’s arms.

Julian Koslow

was formerly a professor of English Renaissance literature at Virginia Tech but left academia to take care of a child with special needs. His poems have appeared or are forthcoming in Spoon River Poetry Review, New Ohio Review, Atlanta Review, Cider Press Review, Journal of New Jersey Poets, and The Broadkill Review. He lives with his spouse and two boys in Fair Lawn, New Jersey.