The Year of Falling Leaves

A Poem by Jeffrey Park

Imagine, please, there were many happy
children living in that far-away place and they
all went to school in a sturdy rustic
one-room school house with its wooden desks
and smooth wooden benches and a shiny
blackboard at the front of the room.

And imagine that the teacher, Mr. Vu
or Miss Phan or Mrs. Nguyen, whom all the pupils
loved, took them on a field trip one day out
into the life-sustaining fields or perhaps even
to one of the deep and fragrant valleys of
the Long Mountains

and the children marveled at the magical autumn
come visiting out of season and the children
all laughed as they threw great handfuls of
fallen foliage at one another and the children
spent the whole afternoon collecting the most
beautiful and fantastic specimens they could find.

And you could go on to imagine that when
they returned to school the next day
they pressed their rare treasures between the pages
of their schoolbooks to create wonderful
displays which bore the banner:
Thank You, Monsanto & Dow Chemical.

And then you can try to imagine that all of the
children grew up strong and healthy and lived
long happy lives and in their restful old age
told their strong healthy grandchildren about
the miraculous year of the falling leaves,
never once needing to use strange foreign words
like dioxin or herbicide or bioconcentration.

It really is nice to imagine these things,
isn’t it, Monsanto? Dow Chemical?
What will you do when you open your eyes?
What will it take to open your eyes?

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