Ghosts by Gracie Bialecki
Turning Wheel by Chelsea Hirn
In my mind, I see a woman as sturdy as the tree she sits under.
She does not flinch when the growing wind touches her face, nor when
The tide of grief wants to pull her under.
She simply sits, bones like roots, no reaction as the breeze
Tosses deep red curls around her face
And deep red leaves around her body.
She just is, like the tree, knowing fully
That this is a season of her life, and like any other,
It will turn on the wheel,
It will grow heavy, shed, and bleed
And then grow full again, and again.
She did not feel despair when her hand mirror
Began to show wrinkles where freckles had been,
Though perhaps she let fall a tear or two.
She did not have to mourn long the passing of the freedom of her youth
Because every moment was spent
In good company: her own,
That of her heart.
And she always knew this day would come,
And lived her youth in greater abandon and relish
She burnt it wild, like fire.
She will not cry out when her scrying mirror
Begins to show her days slowing down,
Red turning to amber, and then silver.
She knew from her first morning under this tree,
When her cheeks still glowed pink
And her bones were little more than sprouts,
That not one of her days would be alike to the last, nor the next.
She found freedom there.
In this moment, she knows that
Though this growing storm,
Kindled by the glorious sweep of her unbridled impulse,
Will blaze around her, grow hotter, wetter,
Soak her dress,
Tangle her hair,
Turn the earth beneath her to mud,
Pull her down, deeper, to rot among autumn leaves
She knows that rot is creation,
That rot becomes soil, and soil trees.
She knows that
Though the fires she lit behind her through her living
Have caught up to her, and she has much to answer for,
Fire clears the soul,
Like the woods,
Of old and gnarled things begging to end,
Makes ready space for seeds.
I see this woman in my mind,
And I try to hold fast to her,
But each of my days is a season unto itself,
Each bringing a dozen storms
And a hundred new leaves,
And her image fades,
And then grows,
And fades again,
And I do not know her freedom, or her strength.