Cheryl Caesar

Raking leaves

is an exercise in the good-enough.
You will never get them all.

You come to prize
the strong, steady stroke of the rake,
the appropriate armful that you lift
into the waiting wheelbarrow.

The maple leaves which from a distance
appear two-tone, red and silver,
reveal a soul-satisfying palette
from crimson to lavender.

A leaf falls in your hair and tickles your neck.

You cover the lily beds
with their winter blanket,
a gorgeous quilt
in five-pointed patchwork.
You’re no good at quilting, but it doesn’t matter.

Raking leaves is a hands-on lesson
in the value of first drafts.



Cheryl Caesar lived in Paris, Tuscany and Sligo for 25 years; she earned her doctorate in comparative literature at the Sorbonne and taught literature and phonetics. She now teaches writing at Michigan State University. She gives readings locally and publishes poetry in the U.S and abroad. When it’s all too much, she escapes in books, cats and Michigan lakes, and dreams of a saltwater infinity pool she once knew in Palermo.

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