The Softly Falling Autumn Leaves

He fell out of the tree and left his name behind. He sat between the roots and stared up into the wide branches, dizzily tracing his fall. There was a bird’s nest on one of the upper branches, a tight basket of cigarette papers and red thread, just over the dry limb that had cracked and thrown him to the ground. His name fluttered on the nest.

The treehouse was nearly done, floor straight and polished and thickly carpeted with falling leaves, the walls sturdy, lattices spanning the windows. The lattice twined up the walls and arced halfway across the roof. The ivy that grew on the trunk he was training to grow among the slats. Ivy was evergreen, would still be there in the winter.

When the black faded from his eyes he started climbing again. The rope ladder was still coiled in the treehouse, so he climbed as he had in the beginning, with hands and knees and toes. His treesuit was ripped and torn. He’d recently gotten very good at patching things — the suit was bright with motley.

He spread his name between his fingers and the nest: Rollie, a web between tree and bird and man.