Lowell Jaeger





Late October afternoon, trees
flashing their colors and leaves falling.
Need to slow your busy-ness, my sister says,
meaning one morning catches a glimpse
of yellows and reds. Next glance,
nothing but branches gone bare.

We’re sipping coffee, relaxing
on deck chairs, reminiscing.
She’d promised she’d fly out to visit
after Dad’s funeral, and she’s nothing
if not a woman of hard-won words.

I’m confused about Dad,
I say, meaning I can’t find him in my memory,
can’t picture him earlier than he faded
so quickly. Who was he before
he morphed into that stooped-over
miserable little stickman pushing a walker?

My sister frowns. He had a good life,
she says, meaning I wasn’t around
to watch his decline. I was busy
elsewhere, and when I turned to look,
he’d already mostly passed.

We sit quiet. It’s beautiful,
I say. Yes, she says, beautiful.
The leaves let go. They flutter downward.

Next one, next one, next.