Vanished

by Lisa Bradley

I rake and toss the leaves
leathern oak, blood-red maple, golden ash
seeking out that certain glister
as of a snail-trail scrawled on autumn canvas,
but my heart already grieves.
Last time the Folk snatched my child
they demanded ransom on a leaf
of witch hazel writ with that eerie silver ink.
Another time they left a trail of leaves
leading to my babe asleep upon
an aspen hill. This time I fear their fancy
is not so passing. Perhaps they’ll keep
my little one as pampered pet
or pupil to be schooled in spider-script
and cruelty. Or perhaps their message
is simply buried beneath these waves of
leathern oak, blood-red maple, golden ash.
Pleading it be so, I rake and toss the leaves,
but my heart already grieves.


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