Issue No. 15, Winter 2015

Dear October,

Hurl me into frost,
pin me in place with tiny pricking stars.
Dark and light weave like shadow and snow,
a thick rough braid down the back of autumn.

October, your sky is biting:
moon, yellow half-smile;
stars, glint of gold caps.
Breath of wind—bad. The smell of chill,
as metal has a smell that’s almost taste.
The cold has come with a crunch,
a tooth-grinding bite restraint.

Teeth, those ancient magics,
bone-blossoms, word-cutters,
us and not us, saved and sold,
quarters and sentiment,
the most thankless talismans
of faery-land—our link, as ever,
to sustenance, digestibility,
the roots of the old world,
gumming into compost
for the new.

October, your sky is a pointed hat,
your trees, swollen fingers,
your wind a tongue, a licking and clicking
at the boot heels of the dark figure,
blended gray light, leaf-silhouette,
chasing the turning horizon
into tomorrow’s winter.

If this is a story you are the teller
who reveals themself to be the villain
whom the reader will exonerate in secret,
in the light-echoed hollow of a stone cathedral
heart. Arch and glass, stained, struggling
towards the velvet train of heaven,
stuck with clouds like stickers and burrs—

You hid your heart under my floorboards
and the whole house was sucked down in.
October, eight is the magic number, one too far
for perfection, and you are the mirror we
still inquire of—most fair, most cold, most
anticipation-hungry, snow-blind.


LeighAnna Schesser lives in south-central Kansas with her husband, two children, half-wild garden, and many overstuffed bookshelves. She spends her days exploring the world and the arts with her toddler, snuggling and laughing with her baby, fiddling, and prioritizing good books and hot cups of coffee over housework. She earned her B.A. in Theology at Benedictine College and M.F.A. at North Carolina State University. Her work has appeared in Transcendence Magazine, Verse-Virtual, Synaesthesia Magazine, and Kindred. Her chapbook Heartland is forthcoming from Anchor & Plume in June 2016. She blogs at leighannaschesser.wordpress.com.