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.