Hannah Stephenson

Feels Later Than It Is

The boy is raking the leaves from his yard

a gondolier dipping his paddle
into the water but not going anywhere

Later you see him in front of another house
He is raking all the leaves from the neighborhood

It is the job of a child to take away the trees

One yard at a time the year inches into

darkness This story feels small
when you live inside it as the boy

or as the woman walking by
but as we talk about it like this

you see the red trees gone brown
standing over the boy

parentally They empty themselves
for him They give him a chore

Hannah Stephenson is a poet, editor, and instructor living in Columbus, Ohio. She is the author of In the Kettle, the Shriek; you can find her online at The Storialist (www.thestorialist.com).