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Recorded for Poem-a-Day on September 22, 2017.
About this Poem 
“What’s terrifying about autumn is not so much the end of things, but that there’s a hidden beginning in some middle you can’t yet see but feel, the way one feels the earth move when a bulldozer tears down a building while the world turns red and yellow.”
—Mark Irwin
 

In Autumn

When within ourselves in autumn we feel the autumn
I become very still, a kind of singing, and try to move
like all things green, in one direction, when within ourselves
the autumn moves, thickening like honey, that light we smear
on faces and hands, then touch the far within one another,
something like autumn, and I think when those who knew
the dead, when they fall asleep, then what, then what in autumn
when I always feel I’m writing in red pencil on a piece
of paper growing in thickness the way a pumpkin does,
traveling at fantastic speed toward orange, toward rot, when
in autumn I remember that we are cold-smitten as I continue
smearing red on this precipice, this ledge of paper over which
I lean, trying to touch those I love, their bodies rusting
as I keep writing, sketching their red hands, faces lusting for green.
 

Copyright © 2017 by Mark Irwin. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on September 22, 2017, by the Academy of American Poets.

Copyright © 2017 by Mark Irwin. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on September 22, 2017, by the Academy of American Poets.

Mark Irwin

Mark Irwin

Mark Irwin is the author of A Passion According to Green (New Issues Poetry & Prose, 2017). He lives in Colorado and Los Angeles.

by this poet

poem

Now light turns the room a deep orange at dusk and you

think you are floating, but in truth you are falling, and the fall

is so slow, yet precise, like climbing a ladder of straw. Now

leaning forward, you open your hands that keep opening. Is

this what Yes feels like? Making a shore where no

poem

A shark swims into the bay, swirls, and then rises with the ugly grin of millennia.

A match flame to a cigar, years later a campfire, and long after a house on fire.

Love—to forget language and act on instinct, its indestructible form.

—Something written on a piece of paper after an

poem

When we could no longer walk or explore, we decided to wear

the maps and would sit talking, pointing to places, sometimes

touching mountains, canyons, deserts on each other’s body,

and that was how we fell in love again, sitting next to

each other in the home that was not our home, writing