Poem: “Little Boys and Leaves as Toys”

Little Boys and Leaves as Toys
(For Luke and Tate)

Shrinking Jack o’ Lanterns smile their sunken, crooked smiles
At little boys chasing leaves under a cloudy sky.
Barefoot, the boys collapse over each other, laughing,
As leaves swirl in their tantalizing ritual dance.
Across the road and down two houses, Mr Ed rides his tractor mower
Sucking up the season’s first patchwork blanket.
Little boys eye the mower’s hungry mouth, wondering where she’ll dump her load
Forming a bed upon which to jump.

Hidden within the pumpkins’ heads a few strands and seeds
Wonder when Mother will replace the decorations on the front porch
With gourds and harvest corn in thanksgiving. Just thanksgiving.
Unbeknownst to them, wooden soldiers stand ready to salute twinkling lights,
And an evergreen wreath, delivered by Boy Scouts, will soon hang on the door
Displacing a colourful ring of leaves…
Will Mr Ed’s mower devour them too?

Drooping orange eyes, portholes for migrating ladybugs,
Look out upon the changing landscape pondering the meaning of it all…
                     Why carve pumpkins, harvesting their seeds as token treats?
                     Why Mother strolls Baby, yet pauses to hear
                            The silence of rustling leaves whispering “goodbye” …….?
                     Why not flourish in the sun growing fatter and orange-er,
                            and orange-er and fatter?
A screaming flock of blackbirds, hundreds of blackbirds,
Awakens Baby, but provides no answer.

Returning from her stroll, Mother spies mildew,
Clinging like runny mascara, under the rotting pumpkins’ eyes.
She mumbles something under her breath, and pushes Baby away.
While the children dream tonight, she’ll toss Halloween in the woods.
Over breakfast she’ll console the kids, “Next year we’ll be growing pumpkins!”
They cheer at the news, and soon begin their wait. Their wait. Their wait…
Days flutter by on the wings of burnt-yellow butterflies imitating leaves.
Little boys can never catch them.
And fall flutters away on a breeze carrying milkweed seeds.

Stacy Peterson
November 11, 2012


Stacy received a BA in PSCI from VaTech and taught for several years. As a former Marine reservist and Officer Candidate, she brings Semper Fidelis to her vocation as wife and mother. She ponders the world around her and on occasion pens an essay. She may be reached at stacypeterson40@hotmail.com.