fevered by some unnamable sorrow

Why it boils over without apology. Why
lawns lining every home erupt

in the night, fevered by some unnamable sorrow.
Why the sky hides so often, a blister

I’ve fingered since childhood.
When it uses words like mercy

and regret, I lose myself in the backyard
the way a match loses its grip on the dark.

Here, between two pines, I might hear
what was once the gossip of sheets

my mother snapped against a line,
father’s shirts pinned shoulder

to shoulder, collars flared, buttons with nothing
to clutch. I think of the crickets who will later spark

the air with their duplicitous refrain,
how I will follow them, barefoot,

moss dusting my heels. And for what?
Tell me that if I look back now,

I won’t see how each grief solders us
to the next: a house clapped shut,

gagged, leaning into its hollowed bones.
Leaves, battered by wind, seized

between the tines of an abandoned rake.
Their ceaseless falling. How they wait

and wait to become tinder, then smoke,
then ash. How I cannot change it.

[Michael Boccardo, 'What No One Told Me about Autumn', from Best New Poets 2013]


  1. Stunning. Best I've experienced in a while. TY :)

    1. I'm glad! I do miss having ready access to that series, and that shelf in general.

  2. Hey, I'm Michael Boccardo, the guy who wrote that poem. Thanks for posting it on your blog (and thanks Shelly Ann for your comment); I'm quite flattered! Best New Poets is a great anthology. Took me five years, but the right poem finally met the right judge. Again, thanks! :-)

    1. This is one of the absolute best aspects of blogging: admiring someone, expressing that appreciation, and being found out. Thank you for writing, Michael--both the poem and the comment!