Summer, Autumn – by Tucker Lieberman

Memory dissolves its membrane,
becomes river,
trauma of not forgetting,
drunkenness of sleep,
memory being the water, the dream.

Rain falls in the forest,
the caterpillar eats the edges of the leaf,
the edges of the page burn fast,
transformative hunger moving
—bear, bone, blood—
to seize the wild within.

Too fast the recall, you miss
both micron and mass,
fly and tornado,
one sentence on another’s lips
that tells you who you are,
the great wind and what it blows.

This is that autumn already. Trees
bleed out purple veins,
stalks go yellow in the mud.
Memory was the water, the what?
The unforgettable trauma,
the river, the flaming word?
This winter, let the tale be
bourbon, blood.

Tucker Lieberman explores villainy and hallucination in his books Painting Dragons and Bad Fire. His poems are in Across & Through, Marias at Sampaguitas, Little Dog, Esthetic Apostle, Déraciné, Neologism, The Conclusion, The Mark, and Defenestration. He and his husband live in Bogotá, Colombia. Twitter: @tuckerlieberman

Art: escapism (Rabun Gap), segment of acrylic painting on 48×24 inch canvas, 2018
Artist Statement: I thought of this painting because it responds to the dissolution of memory in Lieberman’s poem — the drips, the reds, the looseness of the edges, the bare trees a reminder, “this winter, let the tale be/ bourbon, blood.”