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Autumn Renga

R. Erica Doyle,  Monica A. Hand,  Yona Harvey,  Cherise A. Pollard,  Kate Rushin

Searched for shooting stars

found silence in The Milky Way

harvest home.  (Kate)


Blue moon is not blue it's white

just like all the other moons. (Monica)


Like the ancients, I 

navigate constellations

your visage, my sky. (Erica) 


Stars pulse desire into the cosmos,

night winds cool our Autumn heat (Cherise)

wood fire warms the room

flames light nearby photographs

distant relatives. (Yona)

Calls, cards, old hymns keep us close:

prayers in the season of night. (Kate)

Orion will rise:

thousands of blackbirds gather

in evening branches. (Kate)

Your arms heavy from my weight:

beam across skies claim our way. (Monica)

Rain is darker than

the shadow of your mouth near

the moon's fading face (Erica)

Searching your eyes, I find hope

the cosmos blooms, shifts: our shared soul.​ (Cherise)​

Evening waters

she bathes herself

in Sarah Vaughan. (Yona)

Sharp intake sweet release

honey bitter apple love. (Kate)

Harvest moon

smoke from wildfires

near: (Monica)

night lengthens ash leaf

she sleeps and dreams solstice. (Erica)

Heat rises through bare soles

our brackish bodies beam

warm together in darkness (Cherise)

salted mouth, sweet hunger. Touch.

Touched. Had I forgotten?  (Yona)

Burrow in darkness

practice, cultivate faith

hyacinth blue. (Kate)

First sight a hint of yellow

migrants floating on dark shores

hummingbirds fleeing

winter; their gorgeous bodies

glimmer -  mute sound (Monica)

of sanctuary. Gather

all who wander in winter (Erica)

earth solid beneath

we become. Rooted:

love and wonder swirling flurries. (Cherise)

Stray strands at our foreheads--sparks?

Silver of winters witnessed. (Yona)

Radio funk jams

transport us to pulsing nights

360 horizons: (Kate)

Hot fun in the summertime.

Your sphere of influence (Monica)

and the gravity

of now. Out of our

constrictions. One Nation (Erica)

We slide. We rise. We enter

sweetness and fulfillment as one. (Cherise)

One nation

under a groove, we spin.

We are the sound (Yona)

surviving, thriving. Stand.

In the end we’ll still be (Kate)

scorching henna lines

embers at our fingertips

indigo. (Monica)

Moon passes through gut of sky

from pearl blade to disc, cups a

planet in its palm;

so a woman spins a root

beneath dead leaves, sings (Erica)

verses soar. Cirrus clouds hold

melody as sweet as hope. (Cherise)

We have known rivers.

We have said, yes, like trees

and flowered.  (Yona)

We keep on moving, flowing.

Life. We say Love. We say Life. (Kate)

Angel trumpet

flares Hallelujah jazzy

dance. (Monica)

From the eastern gardens,

we sea-drenched bloom in dayclean. (Erica)

R. Erica Doyle is the author of proxy (belladonna*). the child of trinidadian immigrants, she was born in brooklyn during a snow storm. follow her comings and goings at

Monica A. Hand is the author of me and Nina (Alice James Books, 2012.) Her poems have been published in Cortland Review, Pleiades, Oxford American, Spoon River Poetry Review, Black Renaissance Noire, The Sow’s Ear, and Drunken Boat. She has a MFA in Poetry and Poetry in Translation from Drew University, and currently, she is a PhD candidate in Creative Writing – Poetry at the University of Missouri- Columbia.

Yona Harvey is the author of the poetry collection, Hemming the Water, winner of the Kate Tufts Discovery Award.  She teaches in the Writing Program at the University of Pittsburgh, and her website is

Cherise A. Pollard, PhD, is a Professor of English at West Chester University of Pennsylvania. A Cave Canem Fellow, her work has appeared or is forthcoming in several journals including RattleThe Pittsburgh Poetry ReviewConnotations PressThe Healing Muse, Affilia, African American Review, and 5 AM.

Kate Rushin is the author of The Black Back-Ups.  She holds an MFA in Creative Writing from Brown University, as well as fellowships from The Cave Canem  Foundation and  The Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown. She has taught poetry and African-American literature at MIT and Wesleyan University and has held residencies at AS220 and at Westfield State University. Her work appears in "Callaloo," The Jazz Poetry Anthology, Sister/Citizen and Raising Lily Ledbetter: Women Poets Occupy The Workspace.  She has read at The Sunken Garden Poetry Festival, The Dodge Poetry Festival, Poet's House  and on National Public Radio. Kate currently serves on The James Merrill House Committee.

Photo Marjorie Tesser