As the leaves succumb to a coral shade
You’re reminded of your own freshness
How with each summer comes as naturally a deep renewal
A solidifying of insights
But its fragile underpinnings are also suddenly more visible
And the trees’ tactless, rapid shedding
rekindle your sympathy for your own dead leaves

Sometimes still, late at night you find yourself at the door
Of the filthy dwelling where your old cognitive pests fester
Starving for the attention they crave
And squealing in perverse excitement when they hear you knock
They walk you, as a bride to her groom, to an iron maiden you built as a child
an experiment that gradually consumed you

Wrapped in autumn-colored rust all you can feel is your skin burning
Iron seeping into your skin and tranquilizing you

But as it’s no longer summer, you’re no longer a child
And while sometimes you relapse to familiar pain
Your palette’s matured
Preferring the bittersweet taste of freedom,
Fall’s enigmatic reds
and the world beyond the confinements of self-imprisonment
To the comfort of rigidity
and summer’s static, unattainable light

With this preference in mind,
You’re better able to pull away from places where you’re not welcomed
And navigate your departure on your own
Like a disciplined adult, you can sit quietly and contently
on the lonely train of time
Detached from what’s left behind
But like a child, too, you can gaze thoughtlessly at what flashes by
Appreciating its being in passing
How landscapes are lost and resurface anew
Sometimes as a whole
Sometimes as a system of different parts
A reflection of yourself in which you take solace
Your tense shoulders loosen
And you submit to the train’s force

The leaves’ downward drift remind you to seize the day
And inspire you with their courage
You see yourself in the changing colors of fall

Zoe Alarcon ’25 is a staff writer

Artwork inspired by Dave McKean
Cece Amory ’24 is a staff artist