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Wayne Karlin: Butch in Autumn

When she was a pup in autumn
I watched her dive in mad exuberance
into the leaf-filled road side ditch
and submarine down its length
spraying a delirious scarlet wake
and stop at its far end,
at the edge of wonder,
and look back at me
as if exasperated at my bipedal slowness,
as if to say, where are you?

Those legs gave out yesterday
nearly the last item on whatever final checklist
her body is going through now
and she stares at me,
chin on my knees,
her eyes suddenly older than mine,
heavy with a certain wisdom.
Run ahead again,
old friend,
I’ll catch up with you later.

Copyright 2022 Wayne Karlin

Wayne Karlin is the author of eight novels and three non-fiction books. His awards include The Paterson Prize in Fiction, The Vietnam Veterans of America Excellence in the Arts Award, and the Juniper Prize in Fiction. His short fiction collection, Memorial Days, will be published by Texas Tech University Press in Spring, 2023.

Yue Xing Yidhna Wang / Getty Images

13 comments on “Wayne Karlin: Butch in Autumn

  1. Lisa Zimmerman
    December 11, 2022



  2. Richard Bausch
    December 6, 2022

    This poem is a perfect reminder of what poetry does–a beautiful arrangement of words that seem simply breathed, but which arrive at a singular inevitable expression that strikes deep, with love. No other reason for the art is so important.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Wayne Karlin
    December 6, 2022

    Thank you for your gracious words, Sean. My best to John

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Barbara Huntington
    December 6, 2022

    Damn. I teared up. It’s been hard for poems to reach me lately so I am grateful

    Liked by 1 person

    • Wayne Karlin
      December 6, 2022

      Thank you so much, Barbara

      Liked by 2 people

  5. John Zheng
    December 6, 2022

    Many thanks for this gorgeous poem. Loss, company, and joy in autumn.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Sean Sexton
    December 6, 2022

    A Man acquainted with loss—-well who isn’t? But who writes as beautifully about it (which is also to say experiences it in such a way as Wayne Karlin?) He is becoming for me a favorite writer in these posts in his ineluctable wakefulness. I am grateful to have learned of him solely through this source. That my friend, J. Balaban knows and loves him is icing on the cake!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Wayne Karlin
      December 6, 2022

      Thank you for your gracious comments, Sean. Say hello to John for me.

      Liked by 1 person

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This entry was posted on December 6, 2022 by in Poetry, spirituality and tagged , , , , , .

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