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Close Encounter
Timothy Steele


The curled, dry leaf pursued her up the street,
Tumbling and skidding on the walk, as though
It had some urgent business with her feet
Or problem whose solution she might know.
And so she stopped and turned. It stopped as well.
Yet now that they were standing face to face
(Or face to leaf) it looked too shy to tell
Why, when she’d passed it, it had given chase.
In fact, perched on its lobes, it seemed to be
A mini-spacecraft hoping to explore
Her planet and now realizing she
Was not the earthling it was looking for.
A warm gust caught the leaf and helped it swoop
And twirl across the street to interview
A spike-haired girl who, smoking on a stoop,
Wore a black tank top and arm-length tattoo.
The woman saw no point in feeling jilted:
She knew that naughty youth has its appeals.
A father in a nearby crosswalk tilted
A stroller so the curb received the wheels.
A block away, a bus went barreling past,
Her bus. No matter: she could catch the next.
Meanwhile, she had her cell phone and a vast
Cosmos of friends and colleagues she could text.

This poem first appeared in American Arts Quarterly.
Used here with the author’s permission.



Born in Burlington, Vermont, poet Timothy Steele is the author of five books and is a professor emeritus of English at California State University, Los Angeles. Timothy lives with his wife in Los Angeles. Learn more about him at





Post New Comment:
Lori Levy:
Interesting and unique perspective!
Posted 11/02/2015 12:18 PM
Yes, this is exactly how they're gonna TAKE US OVER! LOL I enjoyed this skillfully-written, whimsical poem. Janice Canerdy
Posted 11/02/2015 12:02 PM
I love the rhymes.
Posted 11/02/2015 08:32 AM

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