Autumn as a Kind of Promise
The scaled, coiled rubber of a broken bicycle tire
has been lying by the road in a crumpled twist.
How a snake must hurt before she casts her skin.
How her eyes cloud over, her muscles ache.
It is not like a salamander about to lift
new feet to the bank, and gasp, and turn
to see her face flame-red in the water.
It is waiting to be a snake, to unclench the bones
so much constrained, to feel each grain of dirt
pass under your belly. To be a cicada, to leave yourself
yourself, flying and singing. Sun and gutter water
daily alter the bicycle tire, piece by intangible
piece. Not for the last time, leaves turn flame-red
and brittle. Not for the last time, snakes and cicadas
find dark, closed places for winter.
Maggie Colvett lives in northeast Tennessee, where she studies Green and Latin, American roots music, and ancient and contemporary poetry. She is the 2014 editor of The Mockingbird, the arts and literature magazine of East Tennessee State University. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in Hayden’s Ferry Review, Cumberland River Review, and Architrave Press's seventh edition of broadsides.