The Design of Autumn
by Janisse Ray
Any day the hawks, circling
overhead, will be gone. Perhaps today
their last. The trees throw off
bushels of paper money, collecting
in the weeds. The leaves are loud
when the wind comes off the hill.
Who can lie down at the time of
ripe fruit, of decadence, before
blackness? No matter how rich
we become, or old, or unable,
won‘t some part of us desire to weave
a basket in which to forage
the last of the grapes? Or, start
moving toward the valleys of deer?
I go wandering greedily
amid all the falling-down.
—from A House of Branches (Wind Publications, 2010)
Janisse Ray lives in the coastal plains of southeast Georgia, where she farms, studies nature, and writes. She is the author of the poetry collection, A House of Branches, and three books of literary nonfiction, Ecology of a Cracker Childhood, Wild Card Quilt: Taking a Chance on Home, and Pinhook: Finding Wholeness in a Fragmented Land.