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Autumn Ball

The trees have checked
their calendar, got the date right,
though many it seems
are unseasonably late.

Those on time play butterfly
ball with leaves as wings:
a fluttering display of golden delicious,
roasted chestnut, cinnamon flakes…

Dressed extravagantly in ruched or taffeta bark,
rustling trains and bouffant hair styles,
they’re still missing frost
to powder their faces. They wait

for the latecomers,
for music to start
and wonder, like me,
what’s happened to nature’s dance.

Sarah James