dry
scruffy
crispy
and curled
little
brown
leaves
have blown
into the supermarket foyer

here where all the plants are plastic
and huge refrigerators
hum like a ship’s engines
pummelling the customers’ ears
it’s only noon
but all the Onigiri is already gone from the shelves
the nervous new students
must have got there first
leaving the teacher
to think again
about lunch

the little
brown leaves
stand out
against the fake
smooth
supermarket floor
though they have no apparent value
they seem
to evaluate
everything else
like inspectors
creeping in to check-up
rather than to check-out

their presence
opens up my senses
to all that is really here
allowing me to see everything afresh

of course
they mark the beginning
of the end
of a calendar year
but simultaneously
the start
of an academic year

another moving moment
for all of us

The Leaves (Paul O’Kane, September, 2017)