portrait on a leaf

by Alexis K., 16

There are few things softer than the
whisper of leaf on ground.
She meets the surface with cracked touch,
fingertips weaving a sequence,
a web of chipping values
and split veins. She has eroded,
her skin a silent cry
to wind and sky.

“Do not bind me”

cuts itself into fragile paper skin
withering with the stars,
acrylic memory on barren forest ground.
An ode to the past,
a promise to the future, a gift
to decaying present.
As her smile breaks into soil,
she passes.

Durham, North Carolina