The Red Leaf  

An arm, attached to a man
Who used to be a house painter
Pulls a steel lever
Attached to a  precision machine
Which goes bang.
The man comments on the fact
That something needs oiling,
And can someone give him a cigarette?
A tree shakes in the Autumn breeze,
A red leaf breaks loose from a branch.  

A projectile emerges from the machine,
And hurtles on it’s pre-destined, precisely calculated path
Describing a graceful arc through the air;
A white cloud, rimmed in sky blue
Can only watch its passage,
Hard and shiny
Screaming downward through the empty air.
A red leaf floats down on the breeze.  

In the scruffy yard of a pock-marked building
With a rusty car and oil drums
To decorate the sandbags
Dragomir and Tanya play a simple game of tag
And a toddler laughs and points
At an Autumn leaf, floating in the air;
His granny smiles and claps her hands
And wishes her daughter were still alive.  

The painter’s missile falls to earth
With a loud ‘Bang’.
Dragomir never caught Tanya:
They both lie, shattered and ugly
And blood flows like paint from a spilt pot.
The toddler’s laughter turns to silence
He gazes, bemused, at his arm
Which no longer has a hand to point
And wonders why he cannot hear
His granny’s screams.

Doug Kennedy

If you've any comments on this poem, Doug Kennedy would be pleased to hear from you.

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