Fall in the White Mountains by Matthew Richards

A Sampling by Caryn Drexl
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Fall in the White Mountains

Fall, you do not owe me anything,
but every time you leave,
my body is full. How
can I celebrate a season
which has given me such abundance?

When Spring teases its rosebuds
back from the table,
and my potential
breaks its teeth tripping down the staircase
of someone else’s ambition,
and I can point on a calendar
where my grief became ripe,
you feed me bowls
of squash and cauliflower soup
fresh from the Harvest.

And I must say to you, Fall:
when September
becomes a mossy heartbeat
stumbling through the orchards
on the legs of a bumblebee,
I will hurtle toward you with the courage
of a jackrabbit who knows
too well the shadows
of the mouth that’s chasing him.
I will defenestrate myself
from the highest room
of Summer’s tallest tower, bursting
into your arms like a cascade
of helicopter seeds caught in a gust.

I want to learn your secrets—
the way I squish my toes
through your melted Crayola grass.
You are most beautiful
when your clouds are pink
and your sunsets, explosive.

Holy October, ravish this wreck of a man.
I have never known a month
so close to my nostrils.
I am the tiniest grasshopper
eating white dandelions from your lap,
spreading hope inside myself
with the wind of a million wishes.

At night I hold you close,
and watch the bumbling brooks meander
down your cheekbone. I grab
fistfuls of twigs from your scalp,
and want nothing but to go bald with you.
Remember how I loved you gullible,
when I tried to kiss you
with bundles of tent poles in my mouth.
Your spirit rocked me like the world wails;
it was you who taught Muddy to sing the blues.

You shook the truth out of me
the way acorns pelt tin roofs
during the Nor’easter.
I am still trembling.
I swear the veil was so thin
between this world and the next
that I felt my body break out in epiphanies.
I swear I found God in your arms.

But if I was wrong,
may the steel zipper of Winter
rip the corneas clean
off my eyes every morning.
May I be cursed to wander the Earth
aimlessly, carving your name into every rock
for the crime of loving you.

Because Fall, I know I am not breathing
until the air is crisper than the foliage.
I know life is never richer
than life which has reached its end.

Please, undress yourself for me
like the Giving Tree.
I want to feel the womb
where the squirrel
and the bear
Let me be the last name
on your tongue when the Merrimack
frosts into permanence.

(Audio recorded by William James. Bio photo taken by Rebecca Lynn Parent.)

Matthew Richards

Matthew Richards lives in Manchester, NH. He competed at the 2011 National Poetry Slam as a member of the Slam Free or Die team. He was an organizer in Occupy NH. You may find videos of his performances on his youtube channel. : youtube.com/user/MattRichardsPoetry