Thursday, December 6, 2007

Still Me

Still Me (SILVER HON DEC. 17, '97)

A woman struggles up the mountain
she has seen in the distance
from her living room window
since her children were babies.
They are finally all in school.
She has exclamation points
of blood on her legs
and a rip in her shorts from
the thorny blackberry
bushes, which snag as if cats' claws
and slow her progress.
At the crest
she splashes in a brook
to wash off the blood.
She's tempted to spend
the night. The air,
breathed deep,
so pure and sweet,
the dappled sunlight so warm.
She sits on a thick mat
of rust-colored, scented
pine needles,
cups brook water in her hands,
makes communion with
the mountain
while hawks ride the wind
and Steller's jays squawk.

She feels warmed momentarily,
like the time at sixteen
she bought a black faille
dress with a sweetheart neckline,
instead of pink pique,
and wowed everybody.

They would worry if she stayed.
She encloses an airball
with her capable, callused
hands, carries it
under her heart
where her babies grew,
down the mountain side.
It holds the scent of redwoods,
wildflowers peeking
from duff,
sun-warmed rocks, smooth-skinned
snakes, deer ballerinas leaping away,
crashing against branches,
damp, deep green moss,
and, she descends faster,
mountain lions.

She feels as if she's casting
bits of the airball,
like torn, freshly baked bread,
through her house.
She breathes deep of the
vestiges of mountain air.
"I am still me," she thinks,
going into the kitchen
and putting on her apron.

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