Pale autumn leaves, your hands,
veins fanned and drying
to autumn’s jaundiced gold,
your wrist a gnarled twig
waiting winter’s wind to crack,
your bones brittled by old-age’s frost
like rotten boughs to break.

Dark your spindled fingers
against the white bed-sheet of sky,
pale and huge your hairless head
like some exotic fruit that hangs unpicked
when all the leaves are gone.

Spring will bring no green to you;
nor bud, nor leaf, nor sapling break
the mouldering carpet of autumn leaves.


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