A duet of leaf blowers
Death can be strangely beautiful
when it is something or someone else.
The dying of the day's light
is one of the great beauties of life.
We reflect on sunsets as
anchors of beauty
in the violent sea of the world.
The death of an animal
whose muscles feed us
is beautiful, something to savor
unless the animal was a friend to us
or our child.
And as leaves wither and fall from branches
their glowing red and yellow deaths
are beautiful to us
unless the rotting mulch on the streets
should cause us to slip
or lose our footing
or skid into an accident.
So we delegate the task
of cleaning the evidence of death
from our lives.
We assign men and women to blow away
the red and yellow leaves from the streets.
Hear them start the engines of their leaf blowers
as cars roll by, engines that would drive the saws that
cut down trees but now instead blow away their droppings.
I listen to two leaf blowers grind and roar
an improvised chorale on the subject of death in the city
and the rhythms of gathering and burning.
They roar like street preachers regaling a crowd
gathering the dying leaves to warn them of the hellfire to come
and the cars that roll by mumble each indifferent whoosh of "amen".
Free verse, first draft, weekend. Do not consider this a serious poem.