Brown leaf in a brown cup. 

Hickory or elm. It’s been 

so long I’m unsure. 

If I saw the tree 

I’d know. Maybe cottonwood. 

It came a ways 

to get where I am. 

Not near as long or far, 

but tormented and bruised, 

too far gone to touch 

no matter how kind and 

gentle the intent. 

I meant no harm, but it’s worse 

for the wear since we met. 

So it steeps and steams 

in a cup on the desk. 

Prod it now, it pushes 

back rather than breaks. 

Certainly dead, 

but finally it can stand 

the fumbling of the living. 

Autumn bullion; a gorgeous smell. 

Can’t help myself but to taste it.