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they made a light clatter
as a lazy air movement
eased its way through the boughs,
and the digger pines hissed
and the sounds of the river
out of sight from this rise
came in more distinctly.
Now and then a bird crossed
from one tree to another
while keeping the silence
birds observe at mid-day
in the midsummer up here.
At his feet, under grass-stems
low-leaning, or snapped off
cleanly at the base, lying
full length in the dirt,
still sleek and bright-pale
in this shade, lay last year's
cottonwood leaves, their
high polish ruined, though
some still showed as luminous
where brushed now by light
sifting down through the boughs
of the oak just above him.
The few oak leaves among them
had kept their dull brown --
weather-proof, tough -- their
hard, convex surfaces