This Is Not a Poem About Autumn


This Is Not a Poem About Autumn


Today, the leaves have shifted their chameleon sheaths

from ivy green to fiery orange and blood red.

I never foresee the coming, year after year,

as August leans into September, and then we become October

with our silver crowns and weathered bodies.

But this is not a meditation on the passage of time.


The practice of poetry is the art of noticing,

and this time I vow to be there when it unfolds,

when the first frost seals the covering of last year’s bulbs

and gray cloud tendrils encircle the earth in cool swaths of sleep.


I’ve spent my whole life writing about light and its persistence

but would you believe that I’ve nearly missed witnessing

the way the light falls across the page on which I write the word “behold”

or the way it bathes your soft brow in a golden nimbus glow

and how, at the end, even as the color slowly fades from head to toe

the light leaves a holy trail of ground gold and gold ground.


Look, it’s not too late to rise up and see

even the tallest trees are holding on another day,

broadcasting their brilliant secrets to the earth below

before making their final bow—


That fiery flurry of orange, blood red.

That lucid dance of love.


Christen Lee


Christen Lee is a family nurse practitioner in Cleveland, Ohio. Her writing has been featured in the Literary Cleveland’s Voices from the Edge AnthologyRue ScribeThe Write Launch, Aurora, Humans of the World BlogSad Girls Club2022 New Generation Beats AnthologyWingless Dreamer and is forthcoming in The Voices of Real 7 Compilation.

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