Written by Trini Rogando
Art by David Bartus

child, harvest moon skin is like paper so
come here, quickly. before my name dissolves
on time’s tongue like wilting communion. watch how
the leaves stumble to scrape beside the cattails
& cry. watch how i weep in turn, throat rusted, palms
pressed against bark running red. we must swiftly
learn baptism like the curves of earthen skin—
doom renamed blessing. fall aches so much like
a crucifixion, & men applaud the diminution. look.
i try to string light through my palms instead of
nail but it whispers away, dripping gold. wrinkles
streak the dawn & stretched thighs echo rushed
canyons gaping, begging for blizzard. the frost
burgeons, a current of frog-croaking slickness.

child, you will follow my lead one day. but for
now i christen you a lamb still straddling sun-
beams. a spear whetting yourself on the rock
of returning spring. oh, how i wish to laugh
& laugh in chorus with greenery. instead,
i tangle burning hands through wildfire hair,
matted & amber. a punchline. i tilt on a swollen
axis, heavenly body larger than humor. there is
jaggedness in time rotting & i am privy to it.
there is glory in aging but i have not yet found its
scripture. in the end i can only idolize myself:
a goddess of autumn, fated to rule. take note—
smell incense poured into lungs like summer &
rake glowing fingers through my skin