Welcoming Whimsy: Autumn’s Exhale

Autumn’s Exhale 

A watercolor painting I did inspired by the season

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. 

Capturing Campus: September

Spindly Legs

if the mind has legs
they are spindly
like a spider’s or vines on a plant
which turn, wrap, squeeze, intertwine
without secure direction or honest intention

you look at me
with my spindly legs
but your smile is mischief
like the Cheshire cat’s up above
clinging to a branch in the dark

I find you hard to trust
and I’m sure you’d say the same

Capturing Campus: September

Movie Magic Omission

munching on an apple in the kitchen because its 2:00 am
snoring because of the five-block traffic jam
licking the yellow strip on an envelope because it’s somehow still 2003
scrolling through dog videos because the test isn’t tomorrow
fishing for the last lucky charm in the bowl because you’re stubborn, damn it
gasping for breath because a Target run can’t wait
nothing is like the movies.

Welcome to arts, ink.

Welcome to arts, ink., where our student artists and writers are given a forum to illuminate the Michigan student experience through art. If you’re a U-M student interested in becoming a weekly contributor, there may be a position available to get paid for your work. We review applications and hire new bloggers twice a year, in September and January. Read more about Blogging Opportunities here!
Email us at arts@umich.edu with questions.

If you want a nice snapshot of some of our favorite posts from last year, check out the “Summer 2023 Reading List” tag!

Capturing Campus: September


Why does it always rain on picnic days?
I stumble, picking up the pace
Still, I’m just shy of the group
that somehow knows one another
deeper than I can dive,
which isn’t saying much

They exchange stories like money
smiles like candy
laughs like party favors
before I stop
as they spread, starfish
on beach blankets
and swallow sandwiches
not knowing
that I know
the rain is on its way
because it always rains on picnic days

Capturing Campus: September

The Heat in August

Cotton swabs strung along a sea of blue
threading through gusts of wind
which carry me to a place
white-walled and cement-floored
walked on with worn shoes
thinned with time and eager energy
I reach a door I’ve never opened
with a beating in my chest
that screams excitement, but the nerves linger
catching on breaths
wiping my beaded face–
a gift from the August heat
a new beginning