Autumn Memories

 One To Take the Time

She picks up the silver handle, remembering.

It is shining as if creamy moonlight has carved

wind’s smooth hips into its body,

and planted seeds of wheat to form stocky fields of bristles

that huddle together in a thick bushel as if trying to keep warm,

and to the touch, like dry skin on a prickly, cold morning.


Now straining her hair through it,

as if she was hoping for gold to appear in the muddy waters of a sieve,

a faded woman, from the light of time,

watches a gray picture of

a lady, a man,

her in satin, silk,

shining in her eyes the love of

a maiden, saved,

and him below, 

in rough wool salty from sea winds

and quiet tears aching for home

he is offering his hand

in marriage?


No, that step has already been over come,

but it’s a withered hand of forever, searching for another

to find it, grasp it, hold it, 

a calloused, leathery one 

one to take her hair, like rabbit’s fur,

soft, white, and long,

and brush it until it becomes blankets of gray, 

turning back the time that ages once 

in body, twice in soul.

One to take the time

and brush it back so they are together,

two in body, one in soul.


Autumn Road

The four play down the forlorn road, 

chittering, then quiet. Silence is shatters,

deafening, like broken china.

Trees list toward them like towers of Pisa, broken fingers,

eager to hear the next quip of the life time.

Leaves fall like shed scales,

crackly and curled as if baked over a fire.

They walk in a marching band line, occasionally drifting off

like dead branches snagged on the banks of rivers,

or a whirl pool of rusty spades circling in the wind, tri-pointed stars,

the last leaf to settle after a sudden gust picks up

and dies down.

The four lined up like dolls in a playhouse,

father at the front, almost touching the trees,

brother pulling up the rear, with mom, stumbling

to catch up with them as he plows forward, pulling sister along, a waif––

each following another, ants scrambling to pick up a cookie-crumb trail.

She stares up at him and shakes,

all stiff veins and a thin stretch of skin,

like the barren trees around them, a reverberation of chill, but content

because the world is undemanding.

A sweater is given, clumpy but…

warm. A hug too, 

always a hug.

Her hands clasp with mom’s

into a locket, small and unbreakable,

and dad’s, his stay by his side.

Brother in his lofty state of 

dad’s shoulders, strong and broad, yawning

he looks like he’s trying to do the mamba,

while tilting out to catch, in his peewee hands,

an edge of a leaf, to feel the coarseness, the barbed tips, the spines branching,

to maybe feel the hope through

the air, its sigh in the wind, its covering blanket, warm,

sidled up to the trees and snug like a thick sweater,

it is captured in him, one who can find it.



There are four of them,

Momma mouse, Daddy mouse

sister mouse, brother mouse.

Or maybe I should say three and a half

because little brother mouse still has time enough to grow.

They have a reclusive life

in a backwoods home above the engine of a car that stopped turning

the last time the land started to freeze over again, which was, I don’t know,

years, centuries, eons ago. 

And underneath the squeaky leather seats with the stuffing mushrooming out,

they make their home with shabby little bits of scraps,

of cotton, tin, and love

all barely holding on by threads,

as the frost wears on and on.

Underneath the seats is spacious, almost too

for a family of four.

Finely varnished with a creaky thin-rugged floor,

littered with forgotten goldfish snacks, crackers,

and broken plastic knobs that once had purpose.

Mama paces answering

why a decrepit car is their only home

and why yes, she is perfectly happy here

on the bottom. They have no where else to go, 

so why not be happy?

Mother mouse’s anger gets prickly and sharp–


We aren’t leaving, ever. She says to herself

and her children. So you might as well give up now,

and who else would accept little mouse children like you?

We are the only family you have.

Look around the room, she says,

the air may be soupy, and the dark might be deep,

but look at all the space around you,

this was the place daddy and I saw fit.

Now all that sister and brother mouse think about is escape

from the cold and lonely that settles in 

as if making its self at home

with what was left of one.



Sophia Kierstead
Age 13, Grade 8
Hunter College High School
Silver Key

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