Photo by Ricardo Gomez Angel on Unsplash

Autumn Haze

Haze continues

to shroud, dulling

crimson leaves,

russet ends of twigs,

and yellow lingerers,

spotted with black.

The yellow globe

above our small valley

has disappeared into

a cloudy atmosphere.

Before and after the rains,

mist appeared, staying

long after we grew weary

of missing the sun.

Photo by Arno Senoner on Unsplash

Summer’s Last Breaths

A cacophony of crickets, katydids

and birds reminds me

there is an outside

somewhere outside these walls.

From this window, I see

green leaves fading to yellow

and straight, brown stalks

guarding the pond

before the scythe bears down.

A less humid breeze works its way

through the house

as the north chill in the air

bodes rain and cooler weather.

A balmy spirit enfolds me

in anticipation of the fall…

of openings and closures,

of small wins and devastating losses.

Photo by Nathan Fertig on Unsplash

These Windows Are a Sad Thirst

On the other side of this glass

is poised a sip of hemlock

not rooted in this soil

or cultivated from this land.

Its liquid form draws ever closer

to lips parched by climate control

and an ever-increasing hum

of radio waves inside these walls.

My soul seeks a level of moisture

not found inside this glass

for months, its essence trapped

in a wasteland of stasis.

If thoughts could sing, I would perch

on the highest limb, though bare

like the branches bereft of birds,

and chant a dirge for the dead.

Photo by Brian Yurasits on Unsplash

Morning Light at Wynn’s Place

November 9, 2020

November sunlight

signals maple trees

in mid-morning

as yellow and orange leaves

begin to sing in chorus

against a clear blue sky.

The creek flows softly

in this dry spell,

but large rocks

form a buttress

and a small waterfall spills

just above a smooth rock

shaped like a turtle shell.

The protrusion is lovely,

brown and gray,

as water flows around it

and between the outliers

that earth brought forth

eons ago.

On the north side

of the creek

sits a tall rock bed

marbled with

shades of gray and brown,

Photo by Damir Spanic on Unsplash

The Smell of His Skin

To see me in a dream

without him

and to know that

I am on the other side

of the dream,

looking at myself,

means nothing to me at all.

I awoke and was startled

to find that I bled

not the blood of my father

or my mother’s milk

but the blood from

the marrow of this man

who had become my soul.

In my morning haze,

I was satisfied to know

that he existed

and was part of me.

That’s it,

and it stumbled upon me

as I lay next to him

while he slept,

knowing that it was something

just to smell his skin.

Photo by Marcus Cramer on Unsplash

These Windows Are a Sad Thirst

On the other side of this glass

is poised a sip of hemlock

not rooted in this soil

or cultivated from this land.

Its liquid form draws ever closer

to lips parched by climate control

and an ever-increasing hum

of radio waves inside these walls.

My soul seeks a level of moisture

not found inside this glass

for months, its essence trapped

in a wasteland of stasis.

If thoughts could sing, I would perch

on the highest limb, though bare

like the branches bereft of birds,

and chant a dirge for the dead.

In my junior year of college, I wore my favorite pair of hip-hugger bell bottoms — soft denim, salmon in color — with an orange sad face patch on the right back pocket. The patch was my protest not against the Vietnam War that raged at that time, but against optimism, unbridled happiness, and the belief that people could harbor a “sunny disposition.” Instead, I chose a patch to reflect who I was then — a skeptical, pessimistic, and often sad person who preferred sunset to sunrise, twilight to dawn, reality to naiveté.

Forty-five years later, I feel the need…

Photo by S Turby on Unsplash

I Buried Myself with Her Bones

I buried myself

with her bones,

smelling the musty

wetness of the dirt,

feeling the pressure

of it above me,

emerging as a wilted flower,

a stem of sorts —

suffocating from her

memory, even though

my frail petals caressed

drops of rain from above.

I cannot separate

her roots from mine

though I try each day

to be different,

to blossom into

a flower that leans

into the midday sun,

but I am on the edge

of moonlight —

I always have been.

Just a whispered flow

of darkness, and like

a self-preserving…

Photo by Akam on Unsplash

The Walnut Tree

The blue sky is blanketed

across the upper reaches

of bare limbs on the walnut tree

as I extend my neck to absorb the sight.

My eyes travel downward to the jagged scar,

two inches thick, that scorched the trunk

and meandered from the crook

to the ground in non-fatal measure.

The thick roots of the large tree

make haste to split the dark green grass

and uproot the clay-like soil,

forming bulbous, poisonous roots.

Did this tree witness the confederate march

from the mountains toward Front Royal,

burying its secrets along with the dead

in this…

Photo by engin akyurt on Unsplash

What You Dare Not Think

What you think

or dare not think

are frequent guests

that take turns

walking beside you

during your solitary

vision of the world.

It is the gloaming

of the day you dread

as you and your shadow

move away from

the horizon before you

and turn toward

the horizon behind —

each movement,

every breath

a consequence

as air gathers you

and grapples

to spin your focus

as you stand

on the apex of the earth,

choosing a focal point

that vanishes each time

your eyes meet anyone

whose time is measured

in curves that follow

the waves of the sea.

Joanne Zarrillo Cherefko

Award-winning educator and published poet: A Consecration of the Wind and Fragmented Roots. Website: www.joannezarrillocherefko.com

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store