The yellow leaves snap and scratch their way
through dull green stems as they fall,
too far gone to know thirst.
The sound reminds me of something I have only imagined:
the rustle of the paper dress from China
that my mother once wore.
When she speaks of it she smiles.
I imagine it fell around her knees and rustled
like the dry chrysanthemum leaves
scraping slowly now across my windowsill
in the afternoon’s fall breeze.