Autumn’s Bones

Tumble wind green leaf dance +++tiny shadows
crawling asphalt and worried faces
Echoes of too soon spiraling++across
++++++a Walgreen’s parking lot+++Too bright
++++++last of summer sun glinting off a line of windshields
Needle prick a bark less Armageddon
Tempest tapping on the windowpane
Come you Autumn+++++whistle through the tree bones
of limbs raked of umber foliage++++in this season
of dead things falling++++Rattle your oracle bones
shake those pieces of ox scapula and turtle plastron
++++++of our human affliction++++Listen to the creak and sway
As a Zephyr blows through branches armature grasp
for dark skies graying hope++++Down++++down we go++++Below
the antler rut deer markings++++Our sunless flayed bark
++++++buried dirt deep beneath the winds moan
++++++to roots tangled in skulls of afterthought
Whispers rattling terra firma’s ribcage
knees thunder cracked++++floor mopped tears
Our hand wringing finger splayed remorse
++++++skeletons bemoaning the winds rancid truth
Lungs long bleached of breath singing
come brittle soothsayer++++Listen closely
as the wind speaks and the land talks back


Click here to read Sage Ravenwood on the origin of the poem.

Image: photo by Alex Wing on Unsplash, licensed under CC 2.0.

Sage Ravenwood:
The first stirrings of what would become ‘Autumn’s Bones’ arrived while I was sitting in a car at a Walgreen’s drive-thru waiting to be tested for Covid. Everything felt removed, wrong somehow as I stared out the window. The sun was blinding, glinting off windshields, with the wind blowing tree branches to and fro, while a lone green leaf tumbled across the parking lot. This was late September in Upstate NY; Autumn was well on its way and I couldn’t help but feel the heaviness of what this test meant for me. It made poetic sense in some strange way to give Autumn a human face, foregoing a reality I wasn’t prepared for while I waited for my results. The thing is if I gave a season my humanity, a season which teaches us how to let the dead things go, who or what would I become? A readily answer with my indigenous background would be the land. Soil dying beneath a harsh season. ‘Autumn’s Bones’ is perhaps a gentle retelling of what we all felt at some point immersed in all the unknowns this virus presented. I ended the poem with, “Listen closely/ as the wind speaks and the land talks back”, in hopes we would find sympathy and empathy whispered in the wind’s moan, with each other.

Sage Ravenwood
Latest posts by Sage Ravenwood (see all)


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.