Outside my window, the neighbor’s
maple, only a scatter of hand-sized leaves
left to fall.
It will take more lazy winds than these
to release the last.
The leaves will find themselves
when rain and sun have done their work
to complete the art of surrender.
When the pruner arrives to strip
the tree to little more than a stump,
in the standing limb, in the hum of lawn,
in the stark outlines.
How many seasons remain?
Why do I want to know
when only unknowing knows itself?
Always, the colliding opposites,
the tensions, all the ends and beginnings,
the tipping points.
Kay Mullen's work has appeared in Appalachia, Floating Bridge Review, Crab Creek Review, Raven Chronicles, San Pedro River Review, and others, as well as various anthologies, most recently Becoming: What Makes a Woman, University of Nebraska Press.