Caroline Maun
A Better Name for Fall
Almost. Inflorescence before complete
darkness. Preemptive nostalgia.
Those shadows that show you how
long a spirit might stretch. Radical change
that doesn’t ask first for your support.
Rather than talk to me about the past,
my father left clippings, each one a mention
of some blood relative I would never meet.
Yellowed newsprint, small stories
of who was wed, who died,
who went to war, who was left. Mystery
in the way leaves, overwintered,
become shelter for a different form of life.
Caroline Maun
I Didn’t Ask
When you left before you left
if you knew why. Something about
the vigilance as you showed me
where you lived, how you checked
to see I had not shed a single hair
and how the glass was dried, back
on the shelf before we left. This deliberate
trip before things started. I remember
seeing the boxes of wine, thrown
and empty, on the porch, everything else,
within and without, spotless.
Caroline Maun
The Gulf of Hip-High Predators
Turbid, green, lithium stew. Shallow
sea full of darts. Light breaking
on the razors of waves. Slight surf
with shell fragments and sand fleas
who tumble and dig back to the dark.

Proto-islands paved in sand dollars,
their plates shifting on velveteen cilia.
The radical symmetry of the number
five. This water taught me treasure’s
under toe and danger’s wherever you

don’t have eyes, which is most places.
What hunts you shapes you, even
when forces are neutral and random.
The salts that buoyed me up and soothed me
also dangled me in dappled light like a toy.