Rendered Leaves

Sulfur lights candles on the altar.
Hands fold yellow, blue, and pink,
paper and pipe cleaner flowers,
drape intricate tissue cutouts
over edges of one soul’s journey.
Smudge some sage or cannabis
over a dusty favorite fifth
of bourbon, vodka, or tea.
Sugar skull grins, shows its teeth
to photographs and sweet breads,
to fetishes and wooden beads.
Black wax clings to aqua blue,
and children’s fingers track edges
and faces of memento-heart cakes.

It is the slow silent time after life.
Pulp yields to its yearly harvest
and mythology adapts a new suit.
Brief with moments of reason,
moments of sorrow and bliss,
she comes on like autumn.
Leaves drop like feathery tears
and then one-day, a strong breeze,
a random gale, and all are down.
Branches bare to sun and snow,
sleep the short days away.

Identity is vigor in moments,
the metrics of heat and history,
wonderment and fresh breath.
The spark transforms and remains,
but self blows to dust in winter winds
like so many forgotten, rendered leaves.

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