Blood-red devours the maple leaves. The snakes
slide through the woods over leaves
already fallen, with a sound like glass
Men without history lived in these woods, speaking
only to the snakes. The snakes were gathered
to be touched, to be lauded, in churches
the snake-men built.
The men said to the snakes, speak to us
with the sound of leaves already fallen. The men
in the churches handled the snakes, and found
history in the sound of the leaves.
In time, they invented towns, and towers
high above the sound of glass breaking slowly.
The old churches sank into the earth, and women
came to the men in the open meadows.
The woods were a snake road
when the red leaves fell. The snakes
remembered the men, their lauding. Diamond-backed
on the blood-red road, they remembered.
The men forgot the woods, the sound of leaves
already fallen. They forgot the lauding
and the red road. At the autumn weddings, under
white pavilions, the promises were of love, and ashes.