Mottled brilliance of chameleon leaves,
a concert audience on the horizon,
120 km/h on the crest of a highway hill.
My son loves fall colors.

Brittle gutter leaves under my feet
are your idiotic face, belly mom.

Always in my head, you
ignore me, starve me,
lock me in the bathroom with my brother
to play with our feces.
No light, we grow scrubby like pesky ground cover
ripped from perfect lawns.

He hates crackers, bread,
flat food sliding under a door.
Repeats odd sounds, can’t stop
talking about butt holes, poop.

My ugly face is yours.
Don’t take my picture.
I’m not worth remembering.

I’m glad these leaves are dead.
I wish I was dead. Stupid idiot.
Should kill myself.

School-approved, traffic light symbolism:
green calm, yellow anxious, red rage
to aid articulation. Only works with kids
who get the point of self-regulation
in society.

I can’t love my new parents right
with you in my head. There’s love
to grab onto, if I could unclench fists.
But it feels wrong. Fall turns cold,

Attachment crinkles to impermanence.
Delayed traffic patterns of boys
born into locked kennels. Now forever mine,
paddling to stay afloat in a green calm sea.
Yellow anxious sunsets, red rage night sky.
The forgotten child, awestruck
by a landscape.


Jordan Trethewey is an artist living in Fredericton, New Brunswick, Canada. He learned to write in any situation, and at a moment’s notice, living with his wife, son, daughter, Sheltie and two cats. He collects bizarre quotations he overhears wherever he goes, and compiles them on Twitter. He has published two poetry chapbooks, and a book of short fiction. He has a compilation of children’s verse, and two more poetry manuscripts waiting for him to rev-up his DIY engine again.

Featured photograph by Karissa Lang