When each line assumes that the one(s) before it are addressed

By Autumn Royal

29 October, 2021

Autumn Royal is Running Dog’s poet in residence for September and October 2021.

Each month, a poet produces new work, which is distributed via Running Dog’s monthly newsletter—Stray. If you haven’t already, sign up to our newsletter.

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Listen to Autumn read this poem.



‘Sometimes it feels like it is over and it’s not.

 Sometimes it feels like it has just begun and it’s over.’ — Juliana Spahr


This whole account will be written for you — yet will barely be

about you and so — O, I’m in dispute with these words, distracted

by the task of detailing flowers — bouquets brimming in escape

poses with rosette trimmings — weighted by childhood, the upbringing

of it all — dominating the core of this figure, this form — never priceless

or refundable. Tell me this is terrible, and I’ll believe it — not for need

but for the sake of it — it’s all for the sake of it — an idea, an empty

bladder, a chamber to fill. The frills of naivety render me as unkind

as the assumption anyone has ever been innocent — with a window beside

a bed overlooking a lake to bathe in — after a breakfast of poached pears

and cream, stalks left intact — a cinnamon quill endlessly bobbing about

the boil. And while we evaporate into things that keep happening — a poet

may be positioned in front of a grand piano — they cannot play. No matter

what’s requested to be read, some poems will enter streets — I hope for more.