It's forgetting season when the leaves fall, and in the yard
we bury everything that died over the summer
and offer the last of our love, name the ones we want to hold
and not forget, and I am unheld, and my tongue
restricts its own words of wanting. I missed
the first October breeze and nobody knew
where I was living and nobody thought to know. As
I write this I have spoken only to the squirrels outside
my window for several days and nights, asking them to tell me
the point of a life too fortressed to let the summer in,
to let the winter out. They scatter at the scratch
of my unpracticed voice. All the remembered dead
open their mouths and plead. Through this silent season
that was all I needed and all I could not do.
October is the month of forgetting and I am being forgotten.
Old friends leave me like a needle pulled from the skin,
which is to say I'm getting sicker. I wonder
which patch of earth will cover me next year,
which roots will finally embrace me, which fruit
will grow strong from everything my life could hold.
Bleak Autumn of the Fifth Year
It's winter again, or almost, and no
fire in the fireplace, and my father
wears his big coat as he leaves,
hat carried by the wind, scuffs
on the car ceiling from hauling
dead trees home from vacant lots,
lonelier than it was some days, quieter,
softer, darker, trees festering in a gaping sky,
frost vanishing like days, blushful flowers greying,
my sister's mittens hanging from the hook, the clouds
of yellow death on every tree, impressionist
street corners, a deep sigh, our closing hands,
the creeping ice that threatens cold,
and she is still dying in my memory,
and I am still living for another year
in this unlikely world, oh God, this world.
Originally from Chicago, IL, Lee Johns is an undergraduate student at Yale University. Their writing has been published in Body Without Organs and the Concord Review and is forthcoming at The Agapanthus Collective. Right now, you can probably find them at the library.
Write something about yourself. No need to be fancy, just an overview.