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Fiery Leaves in Autumn
by Christopher Bradley
11/3/01 9:41:15 PM

Leaves wet like mud
line the cool autumn asphalt
Of my suburb street on a windless afternoon.
My brother and I shuffle through them.

We walk up the street to the top
Where he jogs
A little package of soccer muscles
His wind-breaker flicking against still air.

I fuss with my Sunoco cigarette lighter
And a package of reservation tobacco
And walk carefully behind him
Not wanting to jostle my lower back.

To be eight years old again
And not wonder about the troubles of adulthood.
My biggest concerns might be the Gameboy that had been
taken away because of an irresponsible comment.

There is always learning time
I think learning would be better than knowing
how the silence of old friends can be.
It is a quiet street now.

The days of chips and salsa are long since past
They pretty much ended when my brother's leather case was stolen.
And the dog started to get big.
Oh Sky? Do you care whether our visitors are friend or foe?

We watch the news waiting for a single confirmed kill
As though that will stop the misery that still stirs New Yorkers to unrest
On a day like today
And so few to come before the snow

When the fiery leaves of autumn
Are trodden through
Like wet licks of mud
On the heels of a young boy
And his mustached brother.

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