Trash Collector

The trash collector
backs into the alley
in the hidden way
all discarded matter
is approached.

See how the lotus tree
shrinks from its fallen fodder.
Gutters brimming with
become autumn’s sludge.

In my way
I am backing into
each new lover
with the reluctance
shown by those last
rust-bundled leaves
staying, but visibly shaken
by the need to fall.

Knowing they must let go,
but holding on,
in terror,
holding on.