a patch of gold

most years the neighbor’s cottonwood
is not the first tree to turn toward autumn,
but this week a patch of gold appeared
amid the green, and the breeze shook
shimmering leaves off their slender stems,
littering the dry grass with gilded flecks
like heart-shaped sequins. my father
says maybe it’s because of stress;
because of heat; because of the
long baked days without rain.
could a parched soul shine with such beauty?