You wear people like clothes,
drape them over your hips.
You say “this is what it is
to be warm.” When they
cover you with themselves,
you like to pretend that
that the air is still and that
you never gave yourself
away like a question mark.
You like to pretend like the
barren fields inside of you
can still be filled with something
you can love, without even
realizing that the ache
quiet inside of you, is what
needs love most of all.
Your parents named you Autumn for the similarities between your hair and the leaves,
and your newborn breath was just as fresh and beautiful
and the air must’ve tasted like salt and dirt
but you raised your fists to the sky like tiny hearts and said, “This is me.”
When you first liked a girl, your stomach filled with a hundred bible verses
and you wore your mother’s shadow like a Sunday dress,
tried to pray the feelings away but they never went away, did they?
You weren’t named Autumn for the wrathful hands of summer,
for the way you burned flowers, no
you had red curls that stuck to your scalp like an October moon,
and God couldn’t have made you to die with a broken soul, I can’t accept that.
Your parents named you Autumn because you are like November and you bring everyone to celebrate together.
You were named Autumn for your wind.
For your quiet strength.
For your fluidity.
The first time you loved a girl, your father said it wasn’t as real as it felt
and you used that breeze to lock yourself in your room
and cry in psalms, but your fingers still ached from where they last touched your lover.
You are as beautiful as the trees shedding their leaves,
you are all of the first day of fall, all of the last.
A few weeks ago you sobbed into my shoulders
and said you should’ve been born with a warning,
with caution tape across your lips, a stop sign on your chest.
You are whole. You are not faulty, you are not cracked.
You were not damaged when you were reaching for the light and grasping for life,
when your parents named you after something so beautiful.
You are Autumn. You are sustaining. You are not broken, society is.