always begins

when we aren’t

paying attention.


First freeze sucks

shades of celadon,

emerald, loden

from spent foliage.


Chlorophyll sinks

into branches, trunk

and roots: a forced



Pigments once hidden:

amaranth, mauve,

topaz, amber, coral,

cinnabar, sienna, bay…


releasing, floating on

unseen wings, gently

coming to rest,

raked into a heap:


a soft coffin.


I will surrender

smiling, falling

backward, dazzling

death, buried alive.


By the time my body

becomes alabaster,

dove, ebony,

silver ashes—


I am already gone.

– Mary E. Kocher