Autumn Migration by Allen Helmstetter

Autumn Migration

Every autumn, flocks of blackbirds sheltered
in the two elms at the corner of my street
until the wind finally blew them south.
When they migrated, I envied them.
They got to go to places I had never been—
and for free; it seemed unfair to me.
Aunt Laura died during last year’s migration.
She had never traveled far from home,
but I knew she traveled inwardly—
to places blackbirds never see.
Then she’d come back and seeing me,
would ask if I, too, had been traveling.


Allen Helmstetter lives in rural Minnesota. He loves the rivers, woods, and fields there, and after hiking the trails is often inspired to write about the relationships between nature, technology, and the human spirit. His poems have been published in North Coast Review, Willawaw Journal, Ariel Chart, and Bulb Culture Collective.

2 thoughts on “Autumn Migration by Allen Helmstetter

  1. Oh my goodness, I loved the turn of this poem, such a sweet and honoring portrait, and such a powerful lens for looking at what it is to explore new terrain in the inner landscape. Thank you for this poem. I “oh”-ed right out loud … it totally moved me.

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