leaves over plain fields (New Hampshire sounds)

by Fredda Pearlson


further north than usual

the sun in an act of grace

dips a sleeve through the frost

relaxing the air and the woman with an ax


near the pile of fresh cut wood

in front of the pale unshuttered house

the trees have gathered, dark

and down, dropping leaves


in the house shadowed

by low mountains and high windswept sounds

come the clear voices of women at dusk

a chorus of common flowers in winter


in the kitchen warm arms

over the bones of water

tend to the cauliflower

the yam the bean


while the spider in the corner of the window

dips against the smoke, dancing to her dinner

on the strings of her iridescent music

composed in a sinister language of threads


the heat gathers into smells

familiar soft cooking odors

and later the sharp exhales of the unexpected

woman’s body in winter


in the morning a woman opens

the door to leaves on the stairs

the cupped hands of leaves on water

the cascading sounds of leaves against wood


while a leaf rests in the hood

of a thick red jacket

and beneath a north sky

a woman lifts an ax


“Winter Forest I”, Peter Stacey