I took my first breath in the middle of autumn.
In the years that followed I held it there.
Stuck somewhere in my throat.

This time of year breeds a certain panic.
I can feel its motion as I watch people
rush from class to class.
Moving in straight lines
eyes straightforward
or straight down.

A motion I clumsily follow
as I tilt my neck up to the sky,
Watching as the maroons and mustard yellows
descend neatly to the floor to join
their brothers and sisters.

I like feeling them under my boots.
Their crunch a sign of the larger
crisp cold that hangs in the air.
A cold that I can feel at the base of my lungs,
replacing the bright summer sun
I once carried in my chest.

A cold wind I often confuse for either fear or excitement
Only discernible by the speed of entry.
This is the season where I rest between this dichotomy
Of glee and fright
Of life and death.

Anxiety brings with it possibility
A future unknown and unseen.
I hold my breath waiting for it.
Hoping one day to be born again
and to let the air release.