With chlorophyll faded, maples
transform from green to red.
A whipping wind crests Solstice
Mountain, tearing at trees.
Next anthocyanins, too, dwindle,
diminishes leaves to brittle brown.
In the wind’s teeth, an autumnal flock
of leaves flutter from hardwoods.
The maple leaf’s stem—the peticole—
seals off, severing tree from leaf.
A trickle of leaves, or, as the wind
increases, a shower, a torrent.
Each hardwood creates a protective barrier
where once there was connection.
With my rake in hand, I pause,
watching a season’s end.
This barrier is the abscission
zone—the separation zone.
Watching my nine-month-old daughter
frolic within these leaves.
This severing allows leaves to be shed
from their mother trees.
Seventeen years from now, our girl might, too, enter
the abscission zone, flutter from Mama and me.