October 2016

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