After escaping my prison, I enter through the gates of the cemetery, recalling how my friends had told me to hold my breath when passing through a graveyard, to protect myself from inhaling ghosts or evil spirits. Ridiculous. They’re just dead people underground, without any way to view them. My dulled sensitivity to death and corpses can be attributed to the many TV shows. Out of sight, out of mind. A field of small stones and rocks, nothing more.
The dry concrete road led my shortcut to home. Strolling under a tall oak, kicking seeds out of my way, I enjoyed the solitude of my music. Looking around and deciding no one could hear me, I belt out a few verses to the graves. The names on the headstones flashed through my mind: Dey, Grimes, Jones. I paid them no attention as I rounded the final turn and exited the graveyard.
Leaves pile high on the sidewalk, trapped between cars and a faded yellow wall. People rush to get to where they’re going, disturbing life in their wake. Dying vines curl their way through the cracks, desperately clinging to their roots as the harsh wind huffs and puffs them down. My suede coyote moccasins tread lightly atop the clumps of damp, dead petals.
Once the leaves were magnificent. Following an intense, laborious season, these farmers harvested their sunlight, rushing the energy to feed their king. Day-after-day, without fail, loyalty coursed through the tree like a boiling blood. And when their service was fulfilled, they were repaid with exile. They burned the skies with their explosive infernos. A final fury of their life. A message that they were alive, if only for a season.
Steps became shuffles, disturbing the fallen farmers. A wind awoke, lifting them from their slumber, swirling them through the brisk autumn air. Hands in pockets, I craned my neck to the sky to view the revolution unfolding. A hurricane of leaves swept through the air with a newfound life breathed into their souls. They took to the skies to take back what was rightfully theirs. And for a moment, their dirty shells were shed, and they were their glorious golden selves again. Glints of amber sparkled within them as they flurried around me.
Scurrying across the cement like rats, the leaves clawed at my jeans and clung to my shoes. My wonderment quickly morphed into irritation as I was swarmed and scratched by the mobs of the fallen, like a cloud of bats. Shutting my eyes to protect from the onslaught of debris, I stumbled forward blindly for a moment. I emerged from the storm and brushed off my clothes, bending down to retie an undone shoelace. Straightening up, I turned around and watched the hurricane make it’s way through the sky, a dark cloud of death. I shook my head, letting the leaves fall from my hair, and continued home.