Published on Academy of American Poets (

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.

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


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.

Date Published: 2017-09-22

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