INVITATION, Rachel Schmieder-Gropen

Invitation
by Rachel Schmieder-Gropen

Stay with me.
There are window screens to pull free
and rooftops to climb onto and leaves
to throw from high places so that they
flutter
down

slowly, while the warm air catches
them on its currents and puts them down
in soft places,

like a lifeboat, like a friend who wants
to skip rocks across gravel and laugh
at the way they bounce and skitter
like small wingless creatures with
springs in their feet,

like waiting for a care package from
your friend in Mississippi, like asking
your old babysitter to send you pictures
of the butternut squash risotto she just
cooked up.

Stay with me the way the leaves stay,
even broken, even mostly dead,
even on the ground —

Stay. Stay. Stay, like autumn, like
I’m not asking for constancy but I am
asking for renewal,

like the time I asked you how you
have survived so long and you said,
“little things.”

Stand with me on the rooftop of this
world and throw yourself off like
leaves in late October 
and trust that the wind
will find a way to let you down
soft.

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