Autumn Landscape by Elizabeth Mercurio

woman in white leotard mid-air beneath autumn tree
Photo by Darius Bashar on Unsplash

How do you bear the middle-aged body, all its longing—
……    a body grown round. It doesn’t curve
with the same sweetness it did

on days when they snapped your bra in the hallway

or nights when they whispered, You’re perfect,
though you never believed it.

The body gives up its wounds too,
all the times you said no without words.

It’s yours now.

You stretch out your arms, turn in scarlet-yellow leaves
your heart still hungry in its cage.

—In the lowering autumn dark
you are here, astonishingly, here.

Elizabeth Mercurio
Elizabeth Mercurio is the author of the chapbooks Doll and Words in a Night Jar. She earned an MFA from The Solstice Low-Residency Program. Her work has appeared in Ample Remains, The Wild Word, Thimble Magazine, Vox Populi, and elsewhere.

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