Saved Maple Leaf

Saved Maple Leaf

The maple leaf found itself
in a dresser drawer.
It was not crinkled into
the plastic pin box,
which once snagged jewelry in a slice of sponge,
but now held only a small tooth
gullied by sienna.

It was not slipped
into the envelope of cut hair whose strands stuck together
as if still attached
at the roots.

It did not bind to the rippled chorus programs, flapped homework, rustle
of candy wrappers,

nor tuft in the ruffled kleenex,
wind around the purple crayon, nor nestle
in the slightly sandy scatter
of shells, each too small
to sound the sea.

No; it lucked into
a flattened smear of lotion (containing lanolin),
which (as is somehow the task allotted to sheep), shawled it
in a protective lawyer, so that its veins retained
their suppleness; its crimson its red.

Though, still, the drawer grew dead,
for reasons the leaf could not fathom,
even as it dreamed when sun warmed the wood overhead
of pancakes–
it felt a curious kinship with pancakes–until,

over time, the lanolin shedding
its fat, the leaf mourned
its pine life,
crimping painfully
as it remembered the chatter of the tooth’s
rattled box, and the touch that used to rifle
through the programs, searching
for a last piece
of that candy,
remembering too the proud “ooh”
that proclaimed the enveloped hair,
and the blue that would show there, in
the opening, some of the sky
fallen through.


Here’s a narrative poem of sorts for my own prompt on Real Toads.   The pic is mine, though the wood background not the raw pine I imagine for this dresser. 

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13 Comments on “Saved Maple Leaf”

  1. Rommy Says:

    Their is something very poignant about this leaf, whose life was extended, but at the same time restricted, because it all played out in isolation, far from where it felt most alive.

  2. M Says:

    hey Karin – sorry for being a ghost; like you, I gather, work has taken it’s toll.

    you again show your deft touch with visual detail, and with imbuing a still life with motion ~

    • ManicDdaily Says:

      No worries, Michael–I’m so glad to see you posting when you do. I am hoping to be able (or to make myself able) to cut down a bit in the coming year. Thanks for the visit! k.

  3. Brendan Says:

    The thread which holds this leaf up for our attention unspools a narrative of parental loss (as I read it) that gathers up the other mementos in its course–yearningly (and so well done)–accepting along the way that what was lost may be surficially preserved but the sky, the breath, the Yes of it cannot. Except, of course, fleetingly in the trailing wisp of this narrative. The pathos of what remains is heartbreaking, but that’s what breadth and depth of heart means. Thanks for the challenge, sorry response has been light — tone of the time, I suppose.

  4. kim881 Says:

    I love the leaf as thread and the items it does not get attached to: all the things collected by the mother the drawer belonged to. I also love what it does get attached to – the lanolin – which then leads to the touch of the mother’s hands. Fabulous and it made me cry.

  5. The POV of the leaf is a great way to describe something more, just proves that the abstract starting (where the addition of lanolin somehow moves it closer to reality)… also showing how a story is maybe not only a narrative but an allegory…

  6. Wonderful story of the leaf and the odds and ends collected. It does have a sadness of unfulfilled life.

  7. I love that you have made a story out of items from a bag or a drawer or a box – the leaf seems to symbolize both beauty and what is lost – among the other “things of life” that you carry. Love that one of those things is the chorus programs, I too have those leaflets & sheets of music always rippling inside my bag. 😉 Thanks for sharing.

  8. gillena Says:

    luv this mosaic of collected things, each one a symbol of its own worth, and belonging to that place of memorabilia which has the power to extend life itself

    much love…

  9. Jim Says:

    Liking this, K, experimenting with the unusual life of a leaf. So very descriptive, similar in nature to Kooser’s “Abandoned Farmhouse” poem. That one was sad though, yours intriguing, what was to happen next to the little leaf?
    BTW, I have Kooser’s “Local Wonders”, I wanted it because I used to ‘roam’ back in my original single life in the Nebraska hills and along the river where he lives now and describes in the book.
    I also have his book, “The Poetry Home Repair Manual”, which is a good study in form and mechanics of poetry. I stopped at the place where he tells of prose poetry, I don’t do that very much. He is keen on meter, more keen on a syllabic form using constant syllable length, doesn’t have to be six, eight, or ten. Seven is fine, nine okay, et al.

  10. Kerry O'Connor Says:

    I’m not a hoarder, and some objects which cannot be thrown away fill me with pain of things past.. it is all so bitter sweet, isn’t it? The leaf itself a symbol of what must die away.

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