My corner eye thought they were birds,
but leaves, just detached from limb,
flickered and flipped a brief migration,
landed at wind’s discretion.
Soon dappled light will be replaced
by straight shadows clacking in birches,
those be-jangled enthusiasts of fall
and its golden, breezy air.
Then they were leaves,
but no, peep-piping birds fluttered,
re-leafing trees, dropping tenderly
onto bare branches, nestling softly
into needled pines.
Sun is softer now, air sharp,
a languid, restless token.
My paddle board caught the wind, too,
a leaf on the water,
detached from shore,
rippling down the cold lake.
I turned to go back.
What leaf would ever do that?