Autumn Leaf, Yellow Raincoat

by Ann Fisher-Wirth


Whom can we turn to / in our need? Rilke asks in the First Duino Elegy
yesterday’s street      some tree on a slope      O and the night,
the night when the wind full of worldspace / gnaws at our faces

I am sick of bamboo and wisteria thrusting their stubborn green outside my window
sick of gray lint packed into every crevice of my brain     I want night     gnawing at my face

And I want the day when I walked with my love up a mountain outside Gstaad
my hair dyed Autumn Leaf     I wore my yellow raincoat

the ground was wet     a woman bounded down followed by a poodle
who jumped up friendly and shook droplets     yes it was raining

and a few wild strawberries shone beside our feet
we climbed as far as the barn     the cattle trough
above us the mountain      the clouds

Ann Fisher-Wirth’s seventh book of poems, Paradise Is Jagged, is forthcoming from Terrapin Books in 2023. Her sixth book is The Bones of Winter Birds (Terrapin, 2019), and her fifth, a poetry/photography collaboration with Maude Schuyler Clay is Mississippi (Wings Press, 2018). With Laura-Gray Street, Ann coedited The Ecopoetry Anthology (Trinity UP, 3rd printing 2020). A senior fellow of The Black Earth Institute, she has received numerous awards and had numerous residencies as well as Fulbrights to Switzerland and Sweden. She is Professor Emerita of English at the University of Mississippi, where she also directed the program in Environmental Studies.