Richard Allen Taylor, Their Autumns

Richard Allen Taylor

            I leave,
            you stay—
            two autumns

One man, one woman, one house, yet
his autumn is different from hers.

Her Autumn sweeps down from the cool mountains.
His grasps at the unraveling shirt tail of summer.

Hers wants to talk about her day.
His wants to be left alone to watch the news.

Her Autumn wants to mingle with the guests,
dance and make faces at the Moon.

His Autumn looks over its shoulder,
wonders where it took the wrong turn, why
it keeps returning to the same empty closet.

Her Autumn is a fair wind from Canada, his—
a swirl of dust, a flightless bird.

Her Autumn puts on eye shadow,
brushes blush into its cheeks, dresses up
for the evening.
His Autumn swallows an aspirin,
leaves its dirty socks on the bathroom floor,
goes to bed early.

Her Autumn, having put up with his Autumn
far too long, makes a fateful decision. It slips quietly
out of the house, takes a cab to Winter.

Author’s comment: I think it’s fascinating that we can have two or more people in the same place at the same time, yet having completely different experiences. For example, husband and wife are in the same room. One’s too hot, the other too cold. They fight over the thermostat. This poem riffs on that basic idea. Interestingly, I wrote the early drafts of my poem before I found the short Buson poem. It expressed in three lines what I was trying to say in my poem, so it made the perfect epigraph.

Bio: Richard Allen Taylor is the author of three books of poetry, most recently Armed and Luminous (Main Street Rag Publishing Company, 2016). Taylor’s poems, articles and reviews have appeared in Rattle, Comstock Review, The Pedestal, Iodine Poetry Journal, Wild Goose Poetry Review, Asheville Poetry Review and South Carolina Review, among others, and various anthologies. Taylor currently serves as review editor for The Main Street Rag literary magazine and formerly co-edited Kakalak. After retiring from his 44-year business career in 2013, Taylor earned an MFA in Creative Writing from Queens University of Charlotte in 2015.

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