when beauty dies

every so many years, it seems
as though beauty must die
like November leaves
pierced by the cold
pummeled by the wind
abandoned to moldering mud

while the colors bleed away
our first instinct is rescue
as if we could gather them up
in our careful arms
and paste them, gently
back upon their branches

let them go, my friend
scatter them to the earth
where they may become soil–
we must grieve in burial
endure the empty sting
and wait, patiently, for spring