Black Maple
By Christopher J. Bradley

You look a bit sinister in this season
Like something wicked
The end of September is here
And the drips from the sky
Are popping down
One by one
Through your leaves
Into my short hair.

I haven't had to step back away
To see your figure planted
While your smallest parts
Are still alive
The veins like al dente'
Spaghetti strings
Draped with black-purple nylon
Dragged to earth by fluid gravity.

There's a black pool underneath
Where your juices collect
Formed by a broken square
Of cracked sidewalk
And I'm watching your life
Fall away in the darkness
With my cigarette
Smoking wet tobacco.

Your limbs at my usual angle
Are stretched up
Like the arms of an addicted supermodel
Waiting for the needle of October
To make your oily feathers
Slick to orange and shiny red
And dangle down to the runway concrete.

Maybe you were a faerie once
When I was thirteen
And no one was dead yet
Waking up with the moon
On a simpler evening
Watching the hill
And protecting the owl
I could still "Who" with.

And to whom do I owe this honor
To gaze at your hacked off hips
That made your older arms
For my palms to grip
And climb to join the last mosquitos
Or march an army of your ants
To stop the dive-bombing winged ones
In the city in the evening clouds.

If you had eyes to show in the rain
I know now that they would be saphire
And spider burning acetate
That you'd slip out of your bark
And slide across to spend an evening
Hanging backward on my stiffened limb
In the Waltz of Northern Autumn
While I pace In the droplets of your life.

Heaven is the color of pitch Black Maple
And you are truly a bunch of bats
Gathered together in one hole in the air
As if frozen by the early winter chill
And so many mixtures of our chemistry
Sloshing through your cellular pipes -
We will kill you one day.
One day we will quicken your soul.

And your flight will be marvelous
With a furious flurry of whipping wind
The colors of your final summer
Will drift the currents of the breathing Globe
Washing across blacktop
Choking off gutters
And sticking to automotive windows.

And your secrets will sing away with you.
When the moss finally finds its way in.