Leslie Ullman

Issue #
September 6, 2013

Mind Gives Up An Attempt To Describe The Scent of New Paper

In the prolonged swathe of color
that deepens after summer, like a long
exhalation saved for the shortened
days, a honeyed yellow
travels towards the tips of leaves–
every year this display lifts
heavy summer from the mind
that is also a year older and in fact
aging faster than these trees
but is somehow quickened
as though starting school with new
pencils and a clean tablet whose smell
everyone can remember.

I used to dream of living here. Now I do.
It’s hard not to slip from a place one loves
when one is still in it. Today the whole
canyon is lined with flame and the scent
of leaves which are not so much dead
as crisp, blowing gold over dark asphalt.
I reach again for the longing
that set its sights on these mountains,
this light and omnivorous sky,
the wild weather that is drawn here.

I used to dream of being engulfed
in fame. Whatever did I mean?
Now I want to dwell inside
something else, alert and quiet, keeping
most things to myself. I want to say
one true thing at a time. Something that
holds light long after the light is gone.

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