Tumbling Leaves

It hurts my bones to love you.

It hurts to see the bottle-brush needles

like dried blood on the ground.

It hurts to drive in circles round my suburb

named for ashes on a field.

It hurts to think of children confused 

by this masked and jabbing time.

It hurts to be a man,

it hurts to be a woman,

it hurts to live unknown;

it hurts to be caught in a net

where strangers chant your name.

It hurts to hear a song 

about the death of mystery

and waiting on

another soul.

It hurts to sit in a park alone 

with an unread book

on The Plague,

and a takeaway coffee,

and the words 

of an old friend

on my iPhone.

It hurts to see a mad wind blow

its fury and its strangeness 

through a gum tree

in an evening storm,

so dark the night before 

the memory is lingering

way down inside of me.

It hurts to see 

the morning sun again,

to feel it’s sweetness,

like a reassurance

and a wound.

Dreams come to me

and lose their order,

I need a shower 

to wash uneasy feelings 

off my waking skin.

It hurts, it hurts,

to be alive today.

It hurts the way it always hurt,

it hurts because 

the ghosts are coming to us,

kissing our necks,


you foolish things,

this breathing world 

was always meant 

to turn you over,

like the tumbling 

of ever-falling leaves.

It hurts to park 

on Junction Road 

opposite an empty school,

in the quiet softness 

of another afternoon.

It hurts, it hurts,

to enter here 

and depart

at an appointed time,

to lose our faces 

and our hearts 

beneath the great blue sky.

It hurts to write a poem,

will and testament,

journal note, 

love letter folded

and released.

It hurts 

to have known it all.

– Mark Mordue ©