SWWIM publishes, celebrates, & promotes women, women-identifying & Femme-presenting writers through a Miami-based reading series & the online poetry journal SWWIM Every Day.

Autumn by Leslie Leonard

Color spreads up the hillside in a deep, blushing rash,

the leaves around the thin evergreens

puffed out like the spores of a great orange mold.

The birches have flaked their skin, sudden and snake-like,

and now reach up

like bone-carved totems from the earth.

We use the nights to press our feet together, bare and numb,

or covered thinly in your running socks.

Inside, the water spreads

in Rorschach figures down the wall

from the hole you said you’d fix. Outside,

the trees are leaking down leaves like water droplets,

standing still and many-armed in their rough-skinned nakedness.

I must admit that I stand in the heat of the shower

and imagine sloughing myself clean

and anchoring myself with a solid, immovable tap root.

We may crunch the leaves beneath us, with our shoulders

bumping like old friends. But I am thinking

about the effortlessness of letting something die.


Leslie Leonard is currently pursuing her PhD in American Literature at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. Her poetry hopes to focus on first-person, individual experiences. She currently lives with her partner in Massachusetts, and both have recently earned their Masters in English in North Alabama.

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