Names of Fire
Radiance Angelina Petro
Autumn opens her notebooks,
sending words sailing into the streets
never once looking back.
She lends them to the wind
where they are bolstered by many
changes of direction.
She knows who we are.
She accepts us as we are—cornstalk fiddles
trying to tune our lives into song.
She knows we are apprentices
of the sun, and that few have ever seen
pineapple groves or wandered further
into the mountains.
Autumn knows our spirits are tightly
wound spools in need of loosening, so
she coaxes us into wide spaces,
into scouring rains and gloom,
through the smoke of burning leaves,
into the growing, early darkness,
where we hastily scrawl her messages
into linsey-woolsey phrases
with hopes we’ll turn, transformed,
and strong, and change our names into fire
against winter’s coming cold.