Leafing by Kalpita Pathak


There is a maple
leaf on my back
step in a neighborhood
without any maple trees.
Red as a setting
sun, edges curling
up, it’s already folding
in on itself. If I try
to preserve it
in a book, it will crumble
and blow away from me.
So I leave it be.
You would love to
see this forlorn
handprint from an unknown
bough, you
with your fondness
for anomalies and nature,
but I don’t get
close to people
anymore. I won’t be
inviting you
over or sending you
a photograph
of this permanent wave
goodbye. I know
our fragile friendship
is destined to disintegrate
into dust (as they all are)
but this time it won’t be
because I pressed too hard.

by Kalpita Pathak

Editor’s Note: The best imagist poems offer concrete details and usher the reader toward clarity of thought. This finely wrought poem is an excellent modern example: it contains both clear imagery and a well-written moment of emotional resolve at the end.


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