Autumn Leaves in Beijing
by Armando Ortiz
Two shadows were following me last night, giving the body a shivering fright. I turned around to see who was behind, but it was the street lights casting two shadows in the night. Walking home, and hearing noises scattering from the sides, the breeze sweeping the autumn leaves on the floor, but out of sight.
At a distance a black cat ran, crossing my path looking for cover, becoming a discarded newspaper twisting, scattering, and making my thoughts stutter. Discarded rubbish blown along, like dark ocean waves, became black tarantulas that crawled on the ground.
Later, I woke up in a cold sweat to the clanging of the metal door- late October, when winds shake pots and pans past the midnight hour. Traffic lights and flag poles shaking and resonating like a lone drumstick that lands on a snare drum.
On that crisp and starry night, I was afraid that death would soon take hold, and blind me with nightmare dreams while locked inside an endless dawn. Even if living on an island, I would not be at peace, because something was haunting, but the mind remained clueless to what that could be.
In Beijing, amongst retired folk that woke up early to do their morning taichi is where I lived, frosty breaths blending with dawn’s flowing air. They seemed unfazed with nature’s change that was in the air, and moved their arms as if spinning and mixing clay-wares.
It was like being in a Bergman film, where I was supposed to see my body stiff, but then the next day the heater came on, and the warmth of my home, became a shelter of safety from the cold crawling into every corner of the city.
The last days of autumn, when the warm colors that trees wear fall to the ground, and brown dead leaves announce the blistering winter’s arrival, who with sweeping broom sounds, rakes away all that has passed, bringing a stiffening cold season that will refuse to move fast.