Hektoen International

A Journal of Medical Humanities

Beech Leaves

L. N. Allen
Trumbull, Connecticut, United States

Poet’s statement: This poem is about resurrection, no matter how improbable.


Beech leaves

When birches, cottonwoods, sourwoods, hickories
yews, willows, ginkgos, and even miserly oaks—
Jove’s own tree—have cast away their summer leaves
like shunting off grandparents to nursing homes
where they can die unseen, beeches hang on to theirs
through breathless winter. By the third or fourth snowfall,
brown leaves have faded to beige, fawn—neutral colors
for neutral lives that would never be noticed at all
if they hadn’t gone on past their time, blank imitations
of prayer flags, hopes strung out like unwashed laundry,
useless even as ornaments … bodiless skeletons.
To pull them down by hand might almost seem a mercy
if by March they didn’t turn ivory, wings on a brown
flightless world, life after death claiming its own.

Beech-leave, Photography by Benjamin Haile

by Benjamin Haile




L. N. ALLEN has poems that have previously appeared in The Cream City Review, The Southern Review, Tundra, Tar River Poetry, and Margie. Her upcoming poems will be in Anglican Theological Review, Christianity and Literature, and Barbaric Yawp. She is currently preparing for publication of a manuscript tentatively titled Small pictures.

About the photographer

Benjamin Haile has a studio in Chicago. He specializes in headshots and portraits and enjoys taking photos on wilderness hikes. Benjamin can be contacted through his website at www.BenjaminHailePhoto.com.


Highlighted in Frontispiece Spring 2011 – Volume 3, Issue 2
Spring 2011  |  Sections  |  Poetry

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