Cruel the way we are hoarding words,
little acorns
in big, dwindling trees
that we lose before the ground thaws;

the crunch, the crackle, the smoke of red,
smoldering leaves
now shoved in plastic in someone’s backyard.
I count lines in my face and I’m
stricken with grief;
being bagged up and burned in someone’s
front walkway
without so much as a stroke of the hand,
a peck on the cheek.
If I could open my mouth to you,
I would
but I just can’t say all the things I used to say
to the other ones
when I had more adjectives for destroy me.
 They’re logs warming someone else’s cabin:
dead wood turning like
dead pigs
announcing their victory from every chimney.

It doesn’t matter how you hold me,

I was always languid, auburn space:
too hushed to bite back,
too scorched to save face.
I’m actually graceless, and you’re very
lucky to have met me like this.
Burnt orange & mad at the ground for gravity,
mad at autumn for stripping my forest of its
sorrel flags,
trapped just the same in someone’s rake.
You hear waves crash nearby and a snap
like a twig
my ribs
worshipping your unpolished toes from a safe space
with no mews and no touches and I
can’t snap back from this one.
There goes the last of the russet rustles
littering the shore with their futile nodes,
cheating veins making love to the soil
after spending so many evenings
clinging to its lovers chipping thorns
unpeeling themselves from their place of birth.
Hear a caw in the distance and wonder:
do the trees use birds to mourn?
This place is naked and fruitless and
chasing the sun,
and God,
so am I.

What do we cling to once our green is all gone?
Just foam and broken coral and sea full of
sunken steel.
Hold on to maelstroms like my daughter’s
first tears.
Want to feel them brew later.
The ocean is reaching for me and
the ground is a heartbeat you walked all over
to get somewhere fresher.
September is bowing
and my pulse just stopped;
got carried away on a bemoaning cloud
and I bowed to you like lightning,
vicious but distant.
Fell as sharp as the sky I drew you for,
clapped with a  resounding palm and faced winter
when I noticed the patch of purple Asters at the foot of the bench
where you left me to stand my ripe ground and
your big winter coat to withstand the frost
freezing you out of my empty town.

And I picked one for me.



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