Octobers It’s cold early this year;
Red leaves skitter to the ground
Fallen dead stars, dulled now by night frosts.
I crunch them heedlessly
Tiny explosions under my heels
As I march forward to you.

This landscape is too romantic
It encourages such single-mindedness;
Branches wave violently pricked
Panicky by the October wind-
I see you and me under each one inevitably,
Whispering through sweaters
Trying to get past layers.
At home books lay open-mouthed, unread
As I make the shape of your face
Out of words like delicious, falling, indifferent

These shoes peel skin from my heels with every step;
At the top of the next hill I
Will see your house again,
Intentionally ivy-choked
Nearly swallowed whole by its surroundings.
More than once in the past
I missed it completely,
Misinterpreting it as another cluster of leaves and foliage.
I am beginning to notice how little
Things change except the weather.

Jennifer Gill, "Mushroom cap," photograph


by Carla Barger