First Fall After University

October again, I’m trailing behind.
Come pumpkins, come Halloween.
Winter to come, then go. White snow
to yellow like classic novels or teeth
after years of spiced lattes. Time, less
friend, more girl in a spotted dress
chasing you around the playground
with stones. Hurry, hurry. This part
time job won’t grow back each spring.
People ask: what’s next. what’s next.
what’s next are long lists of brief places
to hide from spotted dresses, rocky
decisions. If I knew what was next
I’d be there already. A girl in the office
waits to be trained to sit in my desk,
answer my phone. They are only planning ahead.
They know you don’t wait until October
to plant the pumpkins. So, I bury myself
in lists, resumes. Warm the wine, wait
for this chapter to amber. Wait, always,
for a new season to find me. Sometimes I wonder
if I’m falling behind or just falling,
another leaf being let go from the tree.

Halle Gulbrandsen is a Canadian writer and pilot. Her work has appeared in The New Quarterly, CV2, The Antigonish Review, Filling Station, and others. Find her in the sky, by the water, or online at hallegulbrandsen.com.