Incandescent, gold and red, the world vibrates and hums with the last of the autumn. Carmel and rust, sable, tan and chocolate leaves ornament the ground, while necklaces of green and gold twist down off the sturdy trees. Those trees will wait through another winter before receiving spring’s crown again. Colors and sounds blurred in my hurried life now demanding, insistent. Burgundy tangles top the bushes, while spear points turn to a pale gold, then white; tasseled heads that greet and satisfy. There is sweetness in the decay, not repellent, but comforting. How strange to walk through so much beauty and so much death all at once. So many daily petty troubles, missteps, and lost chances are confronted in the face of this beauty, this ruin. But there remains no answer. Compelled as others before me, I sit and try to let in a piece to solve this oldest puzzle of the world, here in this autumn afternoon, as all nature sheds its glory, preparing for starker days, darker nights.
Karen Warinsky is a poet based in Connecticut. Her poem, “Roodhouse,” was long-listed in the 2011 Montreal International Poetry Prize. Two years later she was named a finalist in the same contest with her poem, “Legacy,” and those top 50 entries were published in The Global Poetry Anthology by Véhicule Press in 2013. Since then she has had many poems published, including two in the 2017 anthology Nuclear Impact: Broken Atoms in Our Hands (Shabda Press, 2017); two in the Mizmor Anthology (Poetica Publishing, 2019); and other poems in a variety of literary journals. Her first collection of verse, Gold in Autumn (Human Error Publishing, 2020), is available from Barnes & Noble or by contacting the author @KWarinsky on Twitter or on Facebook.