Illustration by Stacy Reece
Illustration by Stacy Reece

Bare Bones

A Georgia professor of ecology offers a classic look at autumn—in the woods and in ourselves.

They stand in the knife-like light of
the November moon. White and red oak,
mockernut hickory, and yellow poplar—
unclothed, their naked limbs reach
for both sky and each other—touches
of growth and admiration. 

We are born naked and die naked—
bare skin opening and closing that
shimmering door—our beginning
and end. 

Clothing covers all, hiding truth.
But skin cannot lie, not now, not ever. 

Author Profile

Gary Grossman is a professor emeritus of ecology at the University of Georgia and lives in Athens. His poems, short fiction and essays in have appeared in forty-seven literary reviews. His work has been nominated for inclusion in The Best Small Fictions and for the Pushcart Prize for 2023. For ten years, Gary wrote “Ask Dr. Trout” for American Angler Magazine. He is a lover of people, nature, productive gardens, fishing, and the ukulele. He has published two books of poetry: What I Meant to Say Was… (Impspired Press) and Lyrical Years (Kelsay). In 2023, he released a graphic memoir, My Life in Fish—One Scientist’s Journey (Impspired).

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