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autumn poem

by Em Townsend

on the third sunday of the month i am entwined in the first tendrils of autumn i hunt for
light glittering on the lake and the air promises to turn cold again summer seemed an
eternity if i must drag myself through the rot of the month, at least it will be along the
scenic route, following trampled dirt-damp trails by the creek i hold my breath to observe
white-spotted deer bobbing between oceans of vivid leaves

i step gingerly in each preexistent footprint to preserve as much untouched earth as possible
why add to the muddle? with time, parts of myself turn rust-colored and brittle, other parts
hovering on the border, lingering somewhere between what is green and what is alive; i
photosynthesize while i still can autumn’s midas touch threads the trees with slivers of gold,
suburbia’s backyard swimming with color and a grim 6 pm sunset

leaves underfoot are freckled with red and black, like camouflage, sinking into the mud of
the season what is stuck will remain stuck, and what threatens to grow will always resist
its premature burial from a burgeoning winter even the crickets silence their hum:
awestruck as it always does and always will, the love of october carries me through, the
heart of the forest explosive: beating, beating, beating


Bio: Em Townsend (they/she) is a queer nonbinary writer and student from the Washington D.C. area. An English major and radio station nerd at Kenyon College in Gambier, Ohio, Em enjoys watching ’80s teen movies, reading, and looking at trees. Their work is published in Fish Barrel Review, The Purposeful Mayo, Blue Marble Review, Club Plum Literary Journal, and HIKA magazine, and is forthcoming in West Trade Review. Em’s debut chapbook growing forwards / growing backwards is out now with Bottlecap Press. More information at:


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