POETRY: “Fall” by Jodi Autumn

Hoeft Marsh, 2020 | WestVirginiaVille.com photo


By Jodi Autumn

I had the honor of walking in the forest today. 
I felt the arms of the colorfully adorned branches welcome me.
The smell of the smashed leaves against the earth
reminded me of the trek humans have made over eons,
over so many fallen leaves, 
over so many cities of organisms of dirt.
Walking towards something more,
something better.

The dying leaves wavering their grip on the home of their branches,
holding on one last time in order to continue reaching, reaching in the everlasting stretch 
towards the perfect blue, blue, blue autumn sky.
Longing to commune with the sun one last time,
before they let go, 
trusting the air to guide them
to become nourishment for whatever will come next.

I reached up with them because the blue of the sky was everything I wanted to be closer to as well.
The trees in their fall-best, gaudy, in their most beautiful gowns of oranges, yellows, and reds, whispered secrets to me in their slow, slow speech. 
They told me that it’s okay that some of me is always dying. 
They warned that we don’t know what is to come.
They said to prepare for the worst,
 but to do it in style.

So, even when I feel bare,
and the bleakness overwhelms me,
I can still reach for the sun.

Like the trees, my roots go to hidden and safe places as well,
And this support underground is the only way survival was ever possible.

Jodi Autumn Urbanic McMillian was born in the late ’70s in the West Virginia hills to back-to-the-lander hippie parents, following their dream of conscious, intentional country living. Taking their goals to heart, she continues to build community. She practices environmental activism, loves urban gardening, and participates in the arts through poetry and dance. Poetry has long been an artistic and therapeutic outlet for her, mainly writing for herself, but she has shared work at coffee shop readings and had two poems in the Spring/Summer 2021 edition “The Guest Room Journal.”

photograph of the author Jody Autumn

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EDITORS/NOTE: What’s up with an all-poetry edition, man? Isn’t that weird?: September 1, 2022: When I conceived of devoting an entire issue of this monthly WestVirginiaVille web magazine to poets or poems with some connection to West Virginia I didn’t realize that when all was writ and done it would end up being quite so ambitious. And … um, large …

A Poetry Sampler from John Burroughs: September 1, 2022: “John Cage Engaged and Uncaged,” “Redux Isn’t Pronounced Ray Do, But That Hasn’t Stopped Me,” and “Dog Day” by John Burroughs

POETICS: 3 Poems by James Cochran: July 1, 2022: ‘She says Jesus / has spoken to her, told her not to drink coffee / or Redbull, that black tea is okay. / I feel jealous of such direct communication / with a higher power, then wonder if I would / stop drinking coffee if Jesus told me to …’

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