Literary Mama writing about the many faces of motherhood
My daughter, four, confronts autumn and all its contradictions

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                       —for Gwendolyn

          The tree over there is a skeleton tree. It has no leaves. Leaves are skeletons, and trees are skeletons. Empty trees are full of nests.
          When a leaf falls, it dies. The falling is a dying. It dies and it dries and it dies. The skeleton isn't buried. The skeleton of a leaf blows in the wind around the skeleton of the tree and dances into crumbling.
          The wind dances, but you can't see it. It dances too fast to see. When it gets tired, it stops to catch its breath. No person can catch its breath; hands aren't fast enough.
          The skeleton of the tree will make new leaves. Those leaves, also, are skeletons. They crouch in branches until spring. Inside the branches, skeleton leaves already are dancing, calling birds to build.


Sian Griffiths lives and writes in Athens, Georgia, where she serves as assistant professor of English at Piedmont College and mothers her two children: Gwendolyn (age 6) and Oliver (age 2). Her work is published or forthcoming in Quarterly West, Ninth Letter, Cave Wall, River Teeth: A Journal of Nonfiction Narrative, Clackamas Literary Review, Oregon Literary Review, The Sow’s Ear Poetry Review, Permafrost, Versal, Court Green, and The Georgia Review, among other publications. Versal nominated her story “What Is Solid” for a Pushcart Prize.


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