I Don’t Bounce Like I Used To

AFRAID TO FALL

Who will let go first,
Leaf or branch, now that green
Has given way, yielding to yellow?
Orange and red dance in the treetops—
Life aflame, well lived and at its peak.
Will they lose their grasp on life
In the browning? Edges curled,
Yet holding still with spindly
Grasp, afraid to fall.

Who will let go first
Me or you, now that youth
Has given way, yielding to prudence?
Wisdom and sorrow waltz in the kitchen—
Life burning out, hard lived, now in its prime.
Will we lose our grasp on love
In the aging? Hair grayed,
Yet holding still with weathered
Hands, afraid to fall.

I pray the wind to take me first.
God’s breath exhaling mercy,
Carrying me far from this tree
Of life, from pain and infirmity.
Let the branch release me before
I forget orange and red, yellow
And green, branch and leaf,
And the fear of falling.

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