another layer

of leaf litter added

to the forest floor

where generations of oak leaves,

pine needles,

thistle and fruit

rot in the most beautiful dance

of life.

waltzing fungi,

quickstep mushrooms,

black beetles

and shimmying worms,

escort this life back into the earth

from which it came.

and the daylight grows shorter,

and the sunrises paler,

and the mist colder,

the frost thicker,

until the autumnal stars

are rarely seen through the

woolen clouds that blanket

the cold, slumbering earth.

soon the Rot Mother will rest

and all will grow calm and quiet.

a temporary death,

a frozen life.

the chickadees will bounce from

branch to stark branch,

searching for berries and

seeds, perching on

a patient witch’s outstretched hand,

and then, quick, disappearing like

curling hot breath

in cold air

back into the thickets.

when the first snow falls

it will fall soft

like a whisper.

the flakes will

rest gently

upon the doe’s eyelashes

as she scans the

open, dusted fields.

her hooves will

press into the soft mud,

not yet frozen.

she will look to the

white, soft sky,

and the snow

will keep falling.