Wednesday, December 07, 2016

The Heart of Autumn

Linda M. Crate, Meadville, PA

autumn love 
autumn leaves
couldn't burn as brightly
as we did
when we startled leaves off of trees
in the burning heat of the sun
simply at our kiss,
and when we went inside
we shed clothing
like leaves
became one;
a beating heart, a burning soul
lost in where we began and where the
other ended
nothing in the world mattered
in that moment except
for the music made
we were the heart of autumn:
sweat of september
and the heavy breathing of october and the
smirk of november before winter ever
had a chance to

 Neon Tree
—Photo by Katy Brown, Davis, CA

gorgon glare 
i guess my first mistake
was falling for you,
but the second was letting you
see my naked soul
for you sought not to nurture it but to
rip the stars and dreams from their seams
taming them and me in the process,
and i'll never understand why
men fear strong women;
or why they're always seeking to put out
their fires instead of admiring their
i will never understand what makes them think
we'd want their cages or pedestals—
once you looked me in the eyes
without fear or worry
look into them now and i will turn you
to stone.

—Photo by Katy Brown

shakespeare's hero  
you weren't there for me
when i needed you
know i should have told you the
truth about the miscarriage,
but you were so happy i had to say
it was my period running late;
otherwise you would have hated me
more than you already did
and i loved you so much i was prepared
to handle that burned myself except
i couldn't because it hurt
far too much—
i don't say that i am a saint
because heaven knows i have flaws,
at least i don't pretend to be one
the way you do;
always an actor in this stage of life i cannot
help but wonder if you even remember
who you are anymore or have you
lost yourself irrevocably to
all the roles you've

 Fallen Leaves
—Photo by Katy Brown

we just can't be strangers 
beneath the fingernails
and teeth and
twined limbs we
lost ourselves
to each other,
and i gave it all to him
my naked soul along with myself
unclothed or burdened by
there was sweat and heavy breathing
and innuendos,
but what started as playful banter
ended as his tongue becoming
not a salve but a sword
severing every chord between us—

he told me that we should
be strangers:

but i remember his birthday,
the scent of his hair,
and digging my nails down his back
of cooking pancakes on the
griddle and making love in autumn;
visits to mantle lake and late
night walks together
through the snow;
i remember the lilies and the roses
and the lost child—

how do you tell your heart
to become a stranger with someone
you love more than life itself?

i couldn't do it
because between the conversations
and the sex
i lost too much of myself
to ever get it back or pretend it
never happened.

—Photo by Katy Brown 

i'll cut you down 
you left everything behind
except yourself
telling me we ought to be strangers
when we're just ghosts
a stranger doesn't have feelings for
someone they don't even know so
intense as i do for you,
and i know they're useless now;
you've married
to the girl you cheated on me with
no less—
i sacrificed everything for you
leaving my family behind
swallowing my pain of my miscarriage
alone so you wouldn't know
for your glee in that negative result was
so cruel that i nearly cried about
your reaction alone,
and i am not over all of it;
still furious that i allowed myself to fall for
a villain like you
believing you to be the saint you wanted
the world to see as you as
for allowing myself to be deceived—
why some men choose to be
monsters is beyond me,
but i am a monster slayer so remember
that well when you're in your
moment of triumph
because i'll cut you down. 

—Photo by Katy Brown

the pain still remains 
he's your past
they tell me
again and again and again,
but that doesn't make
it any easier to
let go;
i know even autumn must lose her leaves
but i cry even then because
there's a beauty in
holding on to every gorgeous thing—
can't say i've learned autumn’s
secret in letting go
because i know there is a time and season
for everything,
and i know not to look back;
but you won't stop
haunting me
in whispers of memories that refuse to let go
drumming on my head mingled with
their voices
"your past, your past, your past"—
but what am i past?
the pain still


Our welcome to Linda Crate this morning, and thanks for the fine poems, and our thank-you to Katy Brown for the beautiful autumn photos! Linda M. Crate is a Pennsylvanian, native-born in Pittsburgh yet raised in the rural town of Conneautville; she currently lives in Meadville, PA. Her poetry, short stories, articles, and reviews have been published in a myriad of magazines both online and in print. She has three published chapbooks: A Mermaid Crashing Into Dawn (Fowlpox Press, June 2013); Less Than A Man (The Camel Saloon, January 2014), and If Tomorrow Never Comes (Scars Publications, August 2016).  Her fantasy novel, Blood & Magic, was published in March 2015. The second novel of this series, Dragons & Magic, was published in October 2015. Her third novel, Centaurs & Magic, was published in November 2016. Her poetry collection, Sing Your Own Song, is forthcoming through Barometric Pressures Series. Again, Linda, welcome to the Kitchen—and don't be a stranger!


Today's LittleNip:




Celebrate Poetry!
And plan to go down to Luna's Cafe
tomorrow night (Thursday) to hear
Patrick Grizzell at Poetry Unplugged, 8pm.
Photos in this column can be enlarged by clicking on them once,
then click on the X in the top right corner to come back
to Medusa.