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These Green-Going-to-Yellow

 This year,
I'm raising the emotional ante,
putting my face
in the leaves to be stepped on,
seeing myself among them, that is;
that is, likening
leaf-vein to artery, leaf to flesh,
the passage of a leaf in autumn
to the passage of autumn,
branch-tip and winter spaces
to possibilities, and possibility
to God.
Even on East 61st Street in the blowzy city of New York, someone has planted a gingko because it has leaves like fans like hands, hand-leaves, and sex.
Those lovely Chinese hands on the sidewalks so far from delicacy or even, perhaps, another gender of gingko-- do we see them? No one ever treated us so gently as these green-going-to-yellow hands fanned out where we walk.
No one ever fell down so quietly and lay where we would look when we were tired or embarrassed, or so bowed down by humanity that we had to watch out lest our shoes stumble, and looked down not to look up until something looked like parts of people where we were walking.
We have no experience to make us see the gingko or any other tree, and, in our admiration for whatever grows tall and outlives us, we look away, or look at the middles of things, which would not be our way if we truly thought we were gods.

Poem by Marvin Bell
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Book: Reflection on the Important Things