Walk the rails under a high blue sky. Find the sag in the leaning fence, and step--carefully--over rusted wire. Follow a peninsula of blond grasses through a lake of loam, and come, at last, to the timber's edge where gray branches trace the sky and rose hips curl near purple canes.
Only a handful of my poems have been published outside of this blog, and most of those were published by an online literary journal called The Christendom Review. The editors there welcomed my submissions with consideration and kindness, even sharing helpful encouragement and critique with me. However, as I have visited TCR's facebook page in the years since my last publication with the journal, what I have seen has troubled me. Whereas I understood the journal to be concerned with publishing quality literature, the facebook page appears to serve as something of an advocacy page for certain issues held dear by many social conservatives.
I disagree with the approach and some of the beliefs exhibited on TCR's social media platform, particularly a 2015 link to an article which I see as feeding fears concerning transgender individuals. The encouragement of fear and suspicion toward an already marginalized group of people can lead to real harm, and I regret being affiliated in any way with such a message. Though I thank the editors of TCR for their personal kindness, and though I greatly respect several TCR authors whom I know personally, I am sorry that I caused my work to be affiliated with an organization whose approach on at least one public platform I now see as harmful.
under this substantive white space,
this back-light of sticky snow-crystal heaps,
Here are no straight lines.
Each trunk and twig embodies
its own slow, sinuous progression.
A flayed stub of dead tree
lays bare this whorling--
its wooden muscles graining
up and around,
like a twist of clay.
Above, scaled bellies of old oaks
and all top-twigs stand
in high relief under
a gray-white hood under
a gray-white sky.
And I, beneath, awed, enveloped,
breathe my tiny breath
so much more loudly
than the forest.
On Thanksgiving weekend, I learned that a significant portion of the original Our Place will be sold on Friday. (For a description of the place for which this blog is named, see here.) The physical Our Place is very dear to me, and I'm grateful that I managed a super quick trip back to say goodbye today. Perhaps I may find words to share about this. For now, a few pictures:
Getting up, I dreamed already
of walking in the woods--
those few miles stashed
in the crooked arm
of Route Six and Torrence.
I had to wait 'till after school
and taking out the dog, and even then,
even walking leaf-incensed paths,
I still felt a'jitter toward myself
and the world.
Three others passed,
one wielding hiking poles and striding shcrunch, shcrunch as if the trail
were more than a mile, as if she were
an arrow tight for distant heights--
and two gingering along, a man
and a woman who carried a broken shoe.
When next I saw her, both shoes were off.
She went so gently, touching the world
through soft black socks.
In snapshot depictions
of our family's life, I see
so much reading:
Grandpa and The Roly-Poly Pudding, The Hobbit and my dad.
My sister reads to me. I read to my brother.
The one who does not appear to read
is Mom--who read us a chapter
every evening, year upon year, unremarkable
as a hug goodnight.
We are taking everything out of the house.
This includes your coat--
rough green-brown with large buttons, hard to manipulate.
The weight, as I lift it, surprises,
but hanging from my shoulders, I see
how men could walk in it, the thick fabric falling
below their knees.
I am a usurper in this heaviness
(Midwestern woman in the coat my grandpa wore);
I know only the lint of it:
Maui sunsets which still couldn't rival the Illinois farm's,
hot showers sneaked in the officers' quarters,
comrades who presented an enemy's teeth at a hospital bed, and
the enemy's wallet with faces of family.
I know when Japan surrendered everyone went out howling
but you sat and thought.