Mills Park on Marion Street

Raymond Ziemer

Little Tommy took fright

When a sudden breeze gusted

And mustered a battalion

Of hickory leaves,

Rattling them over the grass in our path.

Wide-eyed he witnessed the grim transformation

Of his peaceful park landscape

To a suddenly hostile, malevolent world

Where docile leaf litter could rise up with menace

And assail him in chattering terror.

“Don’t be afraid,”

I called out, demonstrating

How to stamp down the dry leaves,

Halting the flutter of their steady advance.

So one at a time

Tommy stomped them to bits,

Crunched the leaves into flakes that just winnowed away.

Now Tommy’s a man

And he’s bigger than me

And he’s not very fearful of much,

But he wears the same aspect of childish delight

When he tromps down his troubles and smiles.

Me - I panic a little to hear the leaves skitter,

See them rise up in my way,

And I can’t stop the onrushing windstorm of days.

Though I tramp ever desperate amid the wild flurry

The leaves just keep tumbling by.