“If I Ever Stop:” An Autumn Poem

Since it’s the autumn equinox, I thought I’d take the opportunity to (re)share why my Kesem/MMFC name is Autumn. The leaves undergo a tremendous change during the autumn season, and they look beautiful while they’re changing. I chose Autumn because I wanted my name to remind me that change can be beautiful. This is also the reason behind the name of my website, my Instagram (scatteredleaves322), and my Twitter handle (@scatteredleaves). I also chose “Autumn” because it was a theme I wove through my second-favorite poem I’ve ever written (below), which I read as a speaker at my college graduation in 2006. The poem also focuses on change, and it’s dedicated to the wanderers, everywhere ❤

If I Ever Stop

if I ever stop wandering…
then I’ll be lost,” you said.

it was three in the morning
when every
word
bears false importance.

sentences drifted through our lips
like cigarette smoke
we spoke like it was the last time
and maybe it was because we were students
living in a universe-city
where brilliance thrives
on crowded streetcorners

you were going to write a road novel
you didn’t have a driver’s license, but poetic license was enough
you built your own road out of paragraphs
and we gathered free verse like wildflowers
blooming stubbornly in gritty spaces

“remember?”
“nothing is free anymore,” you sigh.
we’re so old, and I travel alone these days
filling jars with wind and colored leaves
in relentless autumns of discovery

you left the universe behind
and lost yourself in the city
where they toss people out like yesterday’s news

they sell ragged stanzas
and false importance
on the corners where life used to bloom
we never knew we’d have to pay
for free verse

the pages of your novel
are stark with winter now
I try to wrap you in a dusty book jacket
but you brush the words from your skin
forgotten lines and question marks
fall like feathers

“breathe,” I whisper.
your warmth hovers
like a sentence at dawn

when you’re ready to wander again
search for me between the wrinkled pages
I’ll be there
with an open jar
of autumn.

Thanks to everyone who rides the winds of change with me, from one season to the next. Happy Equinox, to one and all.

With everlasting love,
Autumn 🍁🍂

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