When the Leaf Lifts, It Falls and Leaves Behind a Fossil of Water.

At first, there is nothing
but the sound of
breaking branches—

until there is an engine,
a dusty hearse, a line
turning the corner,

car after car, the police leading the way
onto the Raccoon Lake [main exit],
all accompanied by a flag, all too like

a man burning a tree
for the sake
of insects,

before it is too late—
before he burns too deep and
their faces become something like

a cemetery of lakes, passing
waves of buffalo on a
solitary farm.

The green and brown of
grass to fur, of moss to
lake and sand. They release

their flags in a line
over the water; they release their skin,
as if it were a way

of communicating through
tree frogs, the purr left over
on the water, the low hum

hanging on burning trees.

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