Ruthelen Burns


 I hold this five-fingered maple leaf, brown-faded

and crisp, and think of my mother's hand.

The way time has wrinkled and shrunk once porous cells,

the way veins assert themselves in absence of moisture,

the way lines on the inside of a once soft palm tell stories

of what was held:

   breezes, rain, thunder

      love, eggs, moonlight

         morning's insistent dew.


I hold the curve of this leaf gently, knowing 

if I squeeze too hard the form will crumble into dust,

and I will be left with nothing but memory of the grand flash

of autumn's brilliant flames:

   ochres, burgundies

      oranges, crimson-yellows

         browns and russet hues,

before fire turns to ash.




Acrylic by Jody Flynn inspired by Ruthelen Burns’  poem Fallen as part of the Art of Poetry Tour, a collaboration of poets with artists from Art in Hand Gallery in Zionsville, Indiana.  (Photo by Jody Flynn)







Ruthelen Burns is a mixed-media artist and a poet, and has shown her work at Southern Methodist University, the Herron School of Art and the Indianapolis Art Center. Her work was also featured as part of a 2008 poetry exhibit on art pieces at the National Art Museum of Sport in Indianapolis.


Jody Flynn was raised in Louisville and attended college in New Hampshire. Mother of four, she is an artist mostly painting abstract landscapes in acrylic and oil.