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in memory of John Fowle


these leaves are not from in here
they are nothing like the towering pine
that prickles crevices into my sky with its
decaying and sullen branches

these leaves are robust & hearty still
sneaking their way onto a stage
of concrete like renegade
prima donnas at burlesque
they dance and flicker
bare glimpses of saffron & sepia
blow kisses from lips a tint of rouge
i am certain
no man can recreate

these leaves must be
the ones you saw each day
as you sat close by painting
they huddled together, didn’t they
and danced harmoniously
as they fanned rainbows into your sky
i create a story in my mind of how
you must’ve smiled and pressed
those rose kissed cheeks toward your eyes

but your leaves are changing in here
as all the fallen do
i watch as one little ballerina races by
unable to keep pace
she collides into a steel wall
half her body in my company
half her body reaching for you

her slippers tear in the struggle
i whisper to her you’re still beautiful
and tell her you should go
she twirls her head blushing
then exposes her drying heart towards me

she waits for me to come for her
she waits for us
to save each other

Connie Leung has been incarcerated since the age of 17 at Bedford Hills Correctional Facility, and is serving a sentence of 30 years to life. She attends Marymount Manhattan College through the Bedford Hills College Program.

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