Autumn

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When I was a child

it was always autumn;

with the rain and fungus

the fruit and promise

the leaf-mould and running gutters

where fat worms wandered

through the clear as light water.

Once there was a frog,

grey and spangled at the thigh

exact yellow, exact black.

It would rain and I would wait

in the car and try to count

the droplets forming on the window

as they ran together like so many memories.

The cold would come and stalk

the stars at night

and in the morning we’d fog our laughing breath

and laugh at its whiteness

and how it came while we weren’t trying.

Exact fog white, the crispest kind.

In the afternoons we’d forget our woollen jumpers in the leaves

and traipse around at dusk

looking for that yellow cuff

in the places our games had travelled us.

We’d fill the green bucket with apples and

spend the afternoon cutting our woody

homegrown windfalls

to make jelly,

fingers were slit

and the blood was exact.

Strangely familiar

and unknown.

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