The Poetic Hill

October 2018


Adam Hamilton Russell’s poem below seemed a fitting choice for this month. Russell has played rugby for the US Rugby Men’s National team, currently works for the US government, and can’t seem to stop writing poetry, although he continues to try. His “Market Eulogy,” a tribute to the stone owl that stands guard over Eastern Market, ran here in 2013, and his poem, “Lodestar,” in 2016. He graduated from Duke University with a B.A. in cultural anthropology and earned his Ph.D. in social anthropology from Oxford University, where he was a Rhodes Scholar. He lives on Capitol Hill with his wife, their daughter, and their two dogs—one of whom, Diogenes, is co-author of the book “Lunch With Diogenes,” and is still looking for an honest man.

It’s why they call it fall.
Not drift or pitch
Or topple from the slow
Over the rustled
Seams and edges,
Thin as the skins we shed
Like snakes at dark,
At night,
No matter how hard we hold
Like dry scales
That remind us
We’re caught on land
No matter the size of the pond;
Like the days passed underfoot
No matter how much we rake
Over these years
That fill the little yards
We call us.
But this is how we manage
To find things
Worth keeping
During the slow descent
And why we can gather them to us
While collapse is
In season;
These things,
Like us.
Not dropped,
Just fallen.

If you would like to have your poem considered for publication, please send it to (There is no remuneration.)