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Lori Levy


It’s the time of year I want to be there, not here:
back east, where the hills flush red as guilt,
as if a secret has been exposed.
But there is no secret; just October
in Vermont.  Saffron, turmeric,
chili pepper on the leaves.

It’s taken years for me to notice;
only now I can admit
that here, too, the trees break out
in spicy salsa flames—  
though it’s our winter that sizzles:
November and December
when Liquidambars blaze as brightly
as the maples I have yearned for.
Too long I’ve missed the scarlet
of crepe myrtles in L.A. . . .

not just leaves turning red,
not paprika, sweet or hot,
but the glow they spark in me—
and whatever in that fervor feels
like revelry, rebellion.
Something fierce unleashed
makes me blush like those hills.

This poem first appeared in The Aurorean (Fall/Winter 2013-2014).
Used here with permission.

Lori Levy’s poems have been published in numerous literary journals and anthologies in the U.S., the U.K., and Israel, and she is the author of a bilingual (English/Hebrew) book of poems, In the Mood for Orange. Lori lives in Los Angeles now, but she grew up in Vermont and raised her children partly in Israel. She enjoys reading, writing, and spending time with family and friends, especially in nature. Lori's five grandchildren keep her entertained, on her toes and, occasionally, inspire poems.



Post New Comment:
I especially like "red as guilt" in this very evocative poem.
Posted 02/18/2023 08:23 PM
Cristina Norcross:
I just adore this poem, Lori! Thank you for reminding me of the fervent splendor of New England. As an East Coast transplant living in the Midwest, this brought me back to the sheer glory of autumn and the wildfire spirit of rebellion I now feel in the autumn of my life, as a woman. Love it! (I've posted the link on the Blue Heron Review Facebook page.)
Posted 11/15/2022 10:22 AM
Your wonderful observations rendered poetically. Beautiful poem, Lori
Posted 11/13/2022 12:36 AM
Lori Levy:
Thank you all for your comments and support!
Posted 11/12/2022 10:19 PM
Okay. Had to look up "Liquidambars"!! Nice poem!!
Posted 11/12/2022 04:23 PM
Love this poem. Those last 5 lines. I get it! Thanks, Lori!
Posted 11/12/2022 03:20 PM
Arlene Gay Levine:
Lori, your poem sizzles like L.A. crepe myrtles in winter.
Posted 11/12/2022 11:36 AM
Wilda Morris:
Great comparison of autumn in two parts of the country - each with a beauty of its own if we stop and look for it. Thank you!
Posted 11/12/2022 11:23 AM
Fine poem, thanks.
Posted 11/12/2022 09:24 AM
Totally superb visual feast, Lori. Congratulations on this masterpiece.
Posted 11/12/2022 09:14 AM
Larry Schug:
This poem tells me that we carry home within us. We can only be where we are. I find it very skillful hoe the autumn colors are illustrated with the colors and tastes of spices and exotic (to the poet) vegetation. The final two lines are a surprise and perfect ending to this work.
Posted 11/12/2022 07:36 AM
Sharon Waller Knutson:
I love this poem because it is uplifting, visual and it is packed with unique imagery, all of them related to the color: red. My favorite image is: "where the hills flush red as guilt."
Posted 11/12/2022 06:20 AM

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