National Poetry Month: Autumn Hayes

I only recently first encountered Autumn Hayes’ poetry at this month’s Mutable Hour reading, and wow! Powerhouse.

Sonnet #1

What’s that thorny thing you clutch so close
Pricking the blood to your palm’s numb palm? A rose
Wild-born, lightning-crooked bush? A ball
Of pig iron painted black? A dying sun with spiked rays?

What tether have you fashioned to control
Its swing and land? A synthetic cord? A bow
Of metal marrying metal? How heavy does it hang
Welded to the weight of the wait? Does it ripple your gut

To hear it hum through the anxious air? Where
Does it cling to your body? At elbow? At knee? For me
It’s my right. Elbow, that is. Swift shrug, shoulder flick
And the air at least has been stabbed. A fuzzy brown cuff

Holds it in place. Where do you keep the tool that can sever
The tether? Behind your back? Like it’s the weapon?


Autumn Hayes is a freelance writer and poet; her work has appeared in Xavier Review, Storm Cellar, The Washington Spectator, 3:AM, Teachers & Writers Magazine, and the micro-fiction anthology 140 and Counting¸among other places. Born and raised in Houston, Texas, she has taught reading, writing, public speaking, math, drama, and vocational welding in Los Angeles, Houston, and the Mississippi Delta. She holds an MFA in poetry and teaches English in her hometown. Find out more at