When the leaves

When the leaves

Sneak indoors

For the winter

And the rain

Sprinkles from clothing

Like diamonds and glitter

When the wind

Blows right through you

Like you’re not even there

Tangling you up

In bursts of strong air

And the leaves

And the birds

Share the sky equally

And the air smells

Of dirt, and of fire

And mortality

And you wrap yourself up

In layers of warm

And worry about those

With nothing at all

Those people

Too many

Who huddle in doorways

With wet blankets

And starving eyes

Glancing sideways

There is no reason

For them to be there

No reason at all

And there is nothing

They say can be done

By Whitehall

The banks put up spikes

In their luxury doorways

These people have nothing

And get no leeway

Like the leaves

They are cast

Far and away

To gather in places

Withered and tossed

Where community humanity

Belonging is lost

To wait for a break

From the sorrow they own

The one possession

They don’t want to know

Because everyone struggles

And everyone falls

One time or another

With no one to call

Or the hurt is too deep

You find you’re alone

On the floor in a heap

And the hurt feels so strong

And nothing else does

So the cold on the floor

And the mould on the crumb

Don’t matter at all

And before you realise

You’re sinking in leaves

And you’re trapped in the fall.


© Jennifer Winterburn






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