We Who Have Decided to Live In Autumn


The city’s raging reds, her bellowing yellows,
her greens, her oranges
are not autumn leaves,
for they don’t know the art
of falling.
She abandons these poster colors
peeling from her body
(only to be glued again),
she abandons them to nuance,
to a hint of melancholy on the top of hats.

She takes off her shoes,
her flip-flops her nightclub high heels her army boots,
tosses them into the Mediterranean.
She lets her hair down,
it’s long and loose upon her shoulders,
ready to resist.

We’ve been cold in the summer
with fear at the back of our necks,
we lay with blankets over our heads
instead of sleeping half-naked
on balconies.
We’ve burnt in winters,
listened to the shooting
of words, such empty bullets,
learned to stand
next to open refrigerator doors
to keep our hearts from melting.
We’ve known
springs springing
with cotton-candy hope,
with promises of pink gazelles
in the fields.

The city too has learned.
She knows
how to shed some bricks without breaking,
she hums
September, September,
all year,
to the fluttering sandwich papers on the streets,
lulls them, lures them,
into this wandering, this readiness
to lift and sink, to lift and sink again.

We don’t know which fickle gods
control the chronology of our seasons,
but we’ve decided to live
in this permanent autumn
that offers no flowers,
yet leaves space enough
for the breeze.

We don’t know when it began,
nor when it will end,
this un-season we’ve learned to savor,
this infinite in-betweeness.
We look at the sea. We imagine
seaweed sprouting out
of drowned shoes,
taking in the sunlight.

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