Losing Our Leaves, Leaving Our Losses

Losing Our Leaves, Leaving Our Losses   —by Jinny Batterson

Not yet the part of autumn with luminous light,
But already the leaves have begun to drop.
Those still on the trees are ragged-edged
From the winds of recent storms.

We, too, begin to droop, weighted
Down by the trillions of gallons of water
And waste churning through our coastal plains
As hog lagoons and ash ponds drain oceanward.

If we’ve not been media hermits, we’ve
Been exposed, too, to a flood of tantrums
And tears from high office seekers, office holders,
Commentators, and accusers alleging past violations.

Whether we sense a booming, blaming paternal voice
Out of Eden, or a quiet niggling of conscience
Before the morning’s ever-breaking news,
We start to see the fig leaves we wear.

A loss of innocence is the hardest loss to bear.
The desire to appear blameless is universal–for
Genders, races, nations, high office aspirants alike.
Yet endure such losses we must, maybe more than once.

By the time trauma has receded, by the time an anguished outcry
Gets voiced, will we excuse ourselves with well-rehearsed denials:
“Overwrought, imagining things, too long ago, never happened,”
Or can we acknowledge the hurt, muster the collective grace
To answer with contrite, action-backed apologies? Will we,
Both injured and injurer, leave our losses, begin to rebuild trust?

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