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  • Writer's pictureaeraustol

Exit 21 Maple

Yesterday when I drove off Exit 21,

the Maple that had been deep red

had faded into the color of rust.

For weeks, I have loved her

audacity.

Her vibrancy dulled overnight.


Over the last few weeks,

she has reminded me of beauty

And the strength of solid ground.

And yet every day I have known

that her color would dim,

fade to light brown and one by one her leaves

would let go their grip

and fall to the ground.


I wonder is my enjoyment

diminished because of this.

Could I stay in her autumn moment

the way I want to stay in the now

of my children’s life cycles.

My own.


The last bite of my runny egg on toast

My son's glance-back smile before heading

down the breezeway into middle school.


The last utterance of sun’s light

on my face before the rituals of evening.


The minutes before sleep when I devour pages.

find her hand under the covers and clasp

her softness.

And the dogs pressed against me like I am a warm rock.


Even when Exit 21 Maple loses her leaves

She is still rooted in her position

Waiting for the next phase.

Even then, I want to notice her.


Even then, her roots

Spread out like fingers,

grandmothering the planet.


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