Like Coins, November
We drove past late fall fields as flat and cold
as sheets of tin and, in the distance, trees
were tossed like coins against the sky. Stunned gold
and bronze, oaks, maples stood in twos and threes:
some copper bright, a few dull brown and, now
and then, the shock of one so steeled with frost
it glittered like a dime. The autumn boughs
and blackened branches wore a somber gloss
that whispered tails to me, not heads. I read
memorial columns in their trunks; their leaves
spelled UNUM, cent; and yours, the only head . . .
in penny profile, Lincoln-like (one sleeve,
one eye) but even it was turning tails
as russet leaves lay spent across the trails.
Originally published in The Spoon River Poetry Review, Vol. XXXIII, no. 1, 2008.