The glistening torii gate framed the lush sanctuary like a vermilion sentinel.
Dawn’s silver silence was fractured by stuttering footsteps on rough slate.
A cinnabar leaf clung to the stone lantern drawing the eye upward.
Across the koi pond joyful sunbeams ignited the recently transplanted laceleaf maples.
Crimson radiance dripped onto the mossy rocks like celestial fire.
Back home, for centuries their transient blush enticed yearning wanderers.
Their distant cousins offered solace from five thousand gray miles away.
Straining like the final bloom of autumn.
A crumpled letter rustled in the gentle breeze.
Curious koi paused beneath the bridge attracted to the fluttering white paper.
Their fiery brushstrokes streaked away beneath the lotus,
As the reader’s knees buckle under the connotations.
His dark reflection wavered under a perfect honey gold ginkgo leaf.
The fan shaped messenger brought with it memories of his ancestral village.
Just before winter, the children would gather a perfect golden leaf.
Each child would present their flawless leaf to the village elders along with a haiku
Determined to discover transcendent beauty, he roamed the mountaintop in vain.
During his last autumn of childhood, shining heaven dropped perfection at his feet.
Trembling against the bitter mountain winds, he clutched the leaf to his heart.
Ethereal energy pulsed from his grandfather’s gnarled hand.
The words appeared in his mouth unthought.
Fan of golden flame
Home forever in our hearts
Returns with the fall
Placing the golden leaf on the airplane window,
His spirit drifted homeward like the box kites he flew as a boy.
Soaring over the ocean he dreamed of this his final season.