Brittle Leaves, a poem

The other day I showed a co-worker my new poetry book, Everything I Am Not Saying. She noticed I dedicated it to “Connor”, and wondered who that was. I told her he was my third child who died just a few months before he was supposed to be born. She and I connected over our shared experience of child loss, sharing a few tears over a time when our innocence was replaced by the brutal parts of life – the reality that sometimes children do die. She then read my poem, “Brittle Leaves”, the poem I wrote for Connor after he died.

Here is the poem in its entirety. You can find this poem, and about 80-something others here —->


Brittle Leaves

It is in the golden brown of brittle leaves
that I think of you most.
My breath,
suspended momentarily
in a cloud of warmth against the crisp air,
expanding from its small containment
and reaching to the earth and sky,
breathes for you.

You exist between each click of the second hand,
when time momentarily stops
and all that can be heard
is the deafening roar
in the silence of a stilled heart.
The mornings are darker, the days shorter,
the hours precious as time slips by….
I wonder if I had only loved you more
would you still be here today?
The dates set in stone
that I have traced my fingers over
again and again
are etched in my mind
much more complete
than the memory of your face
that has faded with time.
Yet I know you by heart.

It was in the golden brown of brittle leaves
where you said your goodbyes
in a moment only we shared,
when the world around us
disappeared for a time,
leaving us floating in suspended reality
where all I felt was you
fluttering faintly from my grasp.
Yet with each setting of the summer moon
and rising of the autumn sun,
when the leaves turn from green
to red
to a golden brown,
I smile at your spirit
that exists in the laughter of a child
and floats in the wind
with the remnants of trees.
Peace has melted together
the broken figments
of my injured heart,
revealing the beauty in leaves of golden brown,
gently holding them before letting them drift away,
watching them stay strong in the wind
while knowing they could shatter in an instant,
setting you free with a delicate prayer
of love for an autumn’s child.

11 thoughts on “Brittle Leaves, a poem”

  1. Your poem touched me deeply.
    This is the time of year I lost my dear twin brother. I have written a haiku for him; the autumn is when I fell my loneliness.
    If you’d like to take a look at it, I’d be glad to send it to you.
    Thank you for sharing a deep part of yourself.
    pamela fender

  2. Chrissi, i felt such resigned sadnes in your words, like the inevitability of seasons,
    as if spoken through the lense of time. especially in this passage:
    I smile at your spirit
    that exists in the laughter of a child
    and floats in the wind
    with the remnants of trees.

    i’m so sorry Chrissi, i just can’t imagine….we had a serious medical scare with my daughter a few years ago, luckily all was resolved but i nearly lost my mind when things were doubt. you humble me including my poem as a reference here, ty, ty so much.

    1. Time has a way of healing all. The memory will always be there, but the pain is not. Now I can look at the large picture and get a sense of why things turned out the way it did. But I think I will always wonder what might have been.

      I’m glad your daughter is okay. In a perfect world, bad things would never happen to little children.

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