Cathexis Northwest Press

© 2018 


These leaves, they make 

The most spectacular sound.

Their bodies are frozen, coated 

In ice and each step shatters these

Delicate geometries. Crunch.


It’s different from other crunches.

It isn’t like the soft crunch of dirt,

Or the aggressive popping—flying

Shrapnel—sound of gravel. These

Are the leaves that aren’t ready for Winter.


Each step, heel-toe, is rolling

Rigid cartilage flat, snapping

Small veins like snapping bones.

I wonder if it hurts. To grow

Dry, brittle, plummet to the earth,


Falling, crashing, only to be

Soaked anew by endless torrents

Of rain, flash frozen by a winter 

You are not alive to see because 

You died when you let go, plummeting.


I guess it doesn’t hurt, this crunching. 

Because the hurt was in the evaporation,

Every drop of water forcibly

Wrenching itself from your pores,

Leaving you parched—baking.


These dead bodies, leafy corpses

Huddle together underfoot, and

They crunch, collapse beneath

The weight of the living.

We stand on the flesh of

What has fallen, held up by


A legacy of collapse and crunch.

Walking on these frozen leaves,

I can’t help but crack these small bodies

With the same ease I crack 

My fingers. And I can’t help 

But use these frozen corpses

As earth on which to stand.

Carrina is a graduate of Montana State University in English Literature. A Colorado native, she now lives in Bozeman with her husband, Cliff, and dog, Freya.