Poems by Autumn Giles, 2013


You can’t love a ham. Luckily,

you notice the quilted quality

of its leathery skin looks a lot like

a certain iconic handbag. You can

wear a ham as a handbag.


You can’t love a kohlrabi.

In December, the only thing to eat

is kohlrabi, unless you hop

on its spaceship bulb and whiz

away to kohlrabi space.


You can’t love button mushrooms

while dropping a handful

of their still breathing bodies into

a brown paper bag, but the famous

photographer will take your picture.


You can’t love apples even though

they are there through the winter.

A poem with apples is a recipe

for big, biblical love. An apple,

even small, is a word for love.


You can’t love a city, pudgy

with people because empty of one

person it’s all fucking wrong.


Not Here

Instead, I am a person who is very good

at making pancakes. There is always time

for pancakes. I wear the river well

and the people I love wave before they jump

from the bridge. It is easy to be almost alone

most of the time, even with all of the eye contact.


I wish that I was a country singer or a four year old,

so I could say simply that I hurt and I want

to go home. But here, there’s no blanket fort, no banjo.

In the vegetable light of the corner store, where

watermelons are labeled as red cabbages, I remember

the thing about misery: there’s always a more beautiful way

to say it. A bleeding bag of huckleberries—

a way, with words, to what we love.