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Bethany Jarmul

Autumn Meditation

after Mary Oliver




The earth’s tilted

   spin stirs the trees.

     They sway, arms


lifted in praise.

   Swirled in holy

     invisible vapor.


Oak, maple, & sycamore

   trees drop papery

     doubloons from their


fingertips until

   the grassy ground

     is glorified in gold.




I barter with my toddler,

   paying eleven leaf-coins

     for seven seashell shards.


Perhaps, Mother Earth

   herself is a customer

     of the Creator, exchanging one


season for another, offering

   six sunny days for two



But no, surely only

   humans see glory

     and think transaction.          

Bethany Jarmul is the author of two chapbooks—This Strange and Wonderful Existence (Bottlecap Press, 2023) and Take Me Home (Belle Point Press, 2025). Her writing was selected for Best Spiritual Literature 2023, nominated for Best of the Net and Wigleaf Top 50, and published in more than 70 magazines. She earned first place in Women on Writing’s 2023 essay contest. She lives near Pittsburgh. Connect with her at or on social media: @BethanyJarmul.

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