To Belong Any Old Place



To Belong Any Old Place


The leaves fall from your tree

         onto my pool and patio.

I sweep them into the neighborhood street

         so they are no longer yours or mine.

Each breath of breeze sends

         them along a nowhere route.

The street sweeper comes

         and they are gone.

Leaves do not belong

         to anyone or anywhere.

Each year they start anew with

         beauty and promise.

We all celebrate their being.

Then a trigger is pulled

         and they drop to become

         the annual bothersome crop of waste.


Somewhere in the dark world

         someone’s children

         fall from home.

They land in my backyard and yours.

We sweep them into camps

         so they no longer are

         bothersome to you or me.

Each change of politics sends them

         someplace else.

Each year a new crop of children

         starts with beauty and promise.

Another inevitable political change

         and a new crop of refugee children

         drop in my back yard

         and yours.

These too are swept into camps

         so they are no longer bothersome.

And it comes to pass that these children

         belong to no one or anywhere.

They are the annual crop

         of leaf children of the world.


Doug Minnis

June 20, 2010






In Davis there are falling leaves all over the place all year long. Blowing them into piles and into the street isa thoughtless task. Like most thoughtful tasks it provides prompts for day dreaming. One day the blowing leaves reminded me of stories I have read about children refugees in Africa and Asia.