Autumn

The message was simple. One voice calling for Linda from all the way in San Francisco “I just want to reach you.” Her tone was sharp and measured to fit the intended audience. Though not unfriendly, there was an absence that she attempted to fill with certainty, as we are so prone to do in times of insecurity. Her voice painted a picture of the stranger wavering before me. I understood her. The mistake was made only once and translated coolly into my cochlea.

Had she accidentally written the wrong number? Or hit a wrong number with her finger and then called? I thought my answering machine was still there, clearly stating, in my 21-year-old voice, that you had called Irene’s cell phone and should leave a message if you can. Or Had she been given the wrong number in the first place? A classic move that cruelly sends a person swerving into the phonic abyss. And Linda really is sneaky.

There was a time that I set myself free. In knowing what was right all the world was washed in the color of orange soda. The winter tore into me after the woman who read my writing picked my insides out like a crow. But at least I was open. At least it was real.

To feel reality against the bubble of a dream is heaven. Like watching the Manhattan landscape disappear into sunset as you ride over the Triboro on the naked wings of a motorcycle. I clasped a strap between my legs as we wove under bridges and through cars. ‘I am holding on for my life,’ I thought, and that felt real, and the crisp air against my body felt beautiful and scary.

October and November perform the most glorious sunsets of the year. But there’s a bitter stench beneath fallen leaves. It’s time to bring it home and finally call Linda’s ass.

The lasso encircles the bull at the county fair where the people’s eyes sparkle under sizzling amusement lights. It’ll be a while before we see these bull trucks come into town again. It’s time to train better in the fall. We’ve become loose and silly.

Autumn is the land of our ancestors. Breath on the wind tells the stories of harvest times. Leaves turn red with giant bear blood as the great hunter in the sky hangs to the North. This was a Native American story of the big dipper bear drawn in the sky squarely by stars.

Branches become skeletal so our voices echo tinny in the forest. It is autumn when the hunters sling their guns on their backs. Careful to wear orange in the woods. As the story of the cross roads goes in that old American folk song: a devil handed him that bullet and, the ultimate mistaken identity, it was the man who shot his lover that day.