Tag Archives: Mary Oliver

Poem and Photographs

 

Aunt Leaf, Mary Oliver

Needing one, I invented her –

the great-great-aunt dark as hickory

called Shining-Leaf, or Drifting-Cloud

or The-Beauty-of-the-Night.

 

Dear aunt, I’d call into the leaves,

and she’d rise up, like an old log in a pool,

and whisper in a language only the two of us knew

the word that meant follow,

and we’d travel

cheerful as birds

out of the dusty town and into the trees

where she would change us both into something quicker –

two foxes with black feet,

two snakes green as ribbons,

two shimmering fish – and all day we’d travel.

At day’s end she’d leave me back at my own door

with the rest of my family,

who were kind, but solid as wood

and rarely wandered. While she,

old twist of feathers and birch bark,

would walk in circles wide as rain and then

float back

scattering the rags of twilight

on fluttering moth wings;

 

or she’d slouch from the barn like a gray opossum;

 

or she’d hang in the milky moonlight

burning like a medallion,

 

this bone dream, this friend I had to have,

this old woman made out of leaves.