Every Four Years

Fall leaves drift to ground
turning shades of red or blue
some even purple, covering the earth
in a kaleidoscope of patriotic colors

Workers rake gifts of autumn into piles,
making separate piles for each color,
until mounds of varying sizes
spread from near to the horizon

Passers by take great interest in the size of piles
some arguing that red leaves have fraudulently joined the blue
others proclaiming some are fake leaves, unentitled
to be raked or piled anywhere, proclaiming they must be ignored

Children and puppies wait to dash into the assembled piles
scattering the hard work of the rakers to the winds,
anxious officials keep all at bay, protecting the piles
until the official officials can count, write their reports

After a few days, official officials proclaim the piles perfect
certify them for composting, but somewhere a judge proclaims
that all must be preserved, until the supreme gardners
can examine, make sure the piles are legally raked

Over a fortnight, the supremes listen
to fractured arguments of one side, then the other
until finally they declare piles legit, all is okay,
blue leaves outnumber red, as all could plainly see

Then and only then, steeple bells began to ring,
blue leaf lovers dash into the streets
while lovers of red fret on the sidelines
wondering why trees were allowed
to shed their leaves in the first place ❏

Peter Witt is a retired university professor, at least that’s what his business card says.

Photo by Aaron Burden

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