Beautiful Leaves by Karen Greenbaum-Maya


So, pot-au-feu was just plain boiled beef.
Nothing appealed but the luscious marrow,
mashed on a chunk of baguette.
The wine was house red soft as moss.
The host timed his pours, at least four.
Laughing, you re-told our tale,
and he passed the neck of the bottle unseen
under your evoking hand.
I caught his eye        what are you doing
he smiled to me        I am making him happy.


Last to leave, we threaded around
chairs stacked up on tables.
You raised your face to the city stars,
tipped back right hard into the window box,
flattened the geraniums. I hoisted you
past the music store on rue Léopold Robert,
past the neon reflets off the boul’ Raspail.
At the corner of Edgar Quinet
you sank into the friendly bench
under the streetlamp’s yellow sphere
made diffuse and kind by chestnut leaves.
+++++Look at the leaves        
+++++                           the beautiful leaves     
+++++I’ve never seen             such beautiful leaves.


So I sat down, fine.       I looked
at those illuminated leaves,
absinthe edges outlined in lamplight.
I was tired, wanted back to our flat.
I didn’t know what you knew—
the host had poured happiness,
the leaves were mystic love,
time was up for the last time.
You, exalted, clear-minded, unswerving,
you knew the night should never end.


Karen Greenbaum-Maya, retired clinical psychologist, German major, two-time Pushcart nominee and occasional photographer, no longer lives for Art, but still thinks about it a lot. She earned her B.A. from Reed College (German Language and Literature) and her Ph.D. from the California School of Professional Psychology  (Clinical Psychology).  Her work appears frequently in journals and anthologies, including Sow’s Ear Poetry Review, Off the Coast, Lilliput Review, Blue Lyra Review, and Measure among others. Kattywompus Press publishes her two chapbooks, Burrowing Song (2013) and Eggs Satori (2014). Aldrich Press will publish her forthcoming book-length collection, The Book of Knots and their Untying. She co-hosts Fourth Sundays, a poetry series in Claremont, California as well as “Garden of Verses,” an annual day-long reading of nature poems by some 60 poets, in Claremont’s Rancho Santa Ana Botanical Garden. For links to work on-line, go to: