October Gesture

Autumn—untying of the knot,
uncoiling of life in all its hues
and quivers, and I suppose
if we cannot have the sun
then the trees will do,
with all the fruit and flame their dying brings.

Two years ago today I was drunk,
alone, exploring my dank basement.
I found a stack of 4 old microwaves,
each younger than the one below it,
a totem pole of outdated radioactivity.

This year I keep the rum from my cider
on most nights. I walk down College Ave.—
wispy corridor, where the wind causes the chestnuts
to break like waves
` —and I no longer want
to be held accountable for all of the dirt
and water and stir that is me.

My thoughts go North, to my grandfather—
in White Cloud he is testing his blood sugar.
He pricks his fingertip with a lancet,
uses his other hand to wring out a drop of blood
onto his glucometer. I’ve seen him

in old photos, his hair jet black,
parted on the left. Now his hair’s in strands,
as if the black jet flew by, leaving its contrails
across his freckled scalp.

He tests 189 this morning,
digs a serrated spoon into his grapefruit, the last robin’s
across the street on the telephone wire.

Every once in a while the life in me shuffles,
uncertain of its footing,
daylight and nightdark take off each others robes,
get rubbed a little gray—
the doctors call it murmur call it tachycardia.

I don’t speak their language. I just feel the color
in my eyes and the heat in my chest telling me

It is Autumn
an untying of the knot,
an appraisal of needs,
a taxonomy of the obsolete,

the swiping of the hair, the aging paper
beneath the ink, the puncture of the needle,
the bruise of veins, the blaze of leaves,

clutching tightly, letting go.

Andrew De Haan is a resident of Grand Rapids, MI. He enjoys singing, writing, eating, drinking, cooking, and brewing. In 2009, he received an AWP Intro Award for his poem “Archipalego.” His poems have been published in Through the 3rd Eye and The North Central Review.