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I dreamt last night you had already passed,
the trees bare skeletons,
branches knocking together in the wind
like brittle bones.

Summer’s warm breezes and luminous sunshine
now fading on my golden skin,
a memory I hold close to keep me warm
as the cold creeps in
and you steadily strip the world
of ease and languor.

I pull out my itchy wool,
my down, my fleece—
and wrap myself tight
to warm my chilled soul
as you stalk me relentlessly
until there is no place left to hide.

I will not let you in.
I walk indifferently through your cold beauty,
your brilliant, saturated colors
desperately craving attention.
Your crackle of dried crumbling leaves
only reminds me of Death
and tedious yard labor.
The charcoal tang of fireplace gatherings
shall not impress me,
nor steaming cups of spiced cider;
I know that dark, cold hibernation
is all that you bring.

For you are the month that smiles at me
while you take it all:
my warmth, my ease, my comfort,
(my father)
and leave me with long months ahead
of withdrawal, hunkering down,
and focusing on
mere survival.

Dear October,
You don’t fool me.
I shall turn my back on you,
false friend,
and wait again until May’s arrival.

Heather Shaff

Heather Shaff is a cyclist, writer, and mom based in Boston. She's fascinated by all things growth, motivation, and learning... and will drop everything for chocolate ice cream.

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