Second Summer

Brendan Todt


She has asked that I do not write any more poems about leaves and fall. So I write a poem about leaves and rise. Leaves and yeast. Leaves and my wife standing at the counter kneading an apple cranberry sweetbread. My wife baking two French loaves. My wife proving dough in a warm oven. My wife leavening. My wife leaving behind the warm kitchen for the warm outdoors when the weather, like all of us, changes again its direction. The children chase the leaves like children. They blow into this neighbor’s yard and then that one’s. Everyone is outside, talking again. I do not have to touch her to know she is warm but not warm enough. Inside, the yeast is filling like a body with air—because it is one. She climbs on top of the house and blows the leaves out of the gutters and they rise, like all of us, before they fall.


Brendan Todt is the author of the poetry chapbook The Idea of Leaves within the Dying Tree. His poem “At the Particle Accelerator at Krasnoyarsk” was included in Best American Non-Required Reading 2013. His fiction and poetry can be found elsewhere in print and online. He lives in Sioux City, Iowa, and teaches at Morningside University.