Would I Choose the Same Again?

DEEP INTO THE WOODS I WALK

Deep into the woods I walk
Step by step, the path my own
Wrapped in memory, lost in thought
I walk my path, I walk alone

Far into the woods I stray
Never lost, the path so clear
Whether curved, or whether straight
I have no doubts, I have no fears

Deep into the woods I roam
Far away from city’s noise
Worries dull, while senses hone
I walk with grace, I walk with poise

Halfway in, a clearing found
I pause to rest, I pause to dream
I won’t turn back, I won’t turn ‘round
The path though never what it seems

Deep into the woods I go
Step by step, the path still mine
Different trees, ones I don’t know
Point the way, the path define

Far into the woods I stride
Still alone, the journey long
No branching forks, no great divides
I walk and sing, my path my song

Deep into the woods I walk
Night is near, dark calls to me
I’ve learned from trees the lessons taught
I chose my path, now I walk free

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We All Think We Need One Sometimes

YOUR SHOULDER

You let me cry on your shoulder,
Held me while I gasped for air,

Tears flooding, lungs aching,
Drowning in a grief too deep.

I thought you had rescued me,
In over my head again.

You let me cry and held me,
Head on your shoulder, my tears

Rolling off your back,
Gone before they got there.

Your shirt dry as your eyes
While I cried. My pain cutting

Sharp, blood mixed with tears,
All mine. You let me cry.

With your dry shoulder and far
Away eyes, my tears rolling

Off your back. You held me
Without touching or feeling.

You let me cry on your shoulder,
But you were never there at all.

Spring Cleaning

YOUR LOVE

I thought I lost your love.
When I noticed it was gone,
I looked everywhere, but
Couldn’t find it.

Only now I realize it was
Never lost at all, just
Set aside. Packed away
In the last box you sealed

Before leaving, filled with
Memories you discarded,
Boxed and left for me
To find in my own time,

To find when I dared open
Locked doors to empty rooms.
One box left behind for me, to
Prove I didn’t lose your love.

You set it aside, packed it away
With such care. Your love for
Me. Outgrown, unwanted, but
Left for me to find again

And remember that part of you
Was always mine, to keep
Or to discard. Your love for me,
Not lost, but left behind.

Re-Entry

I’m out of sorts and unable to settle. I don’t feel like writing; I don’t feel like living. I wish I had a reset button to start the day the over. Try again.

I was fine when I got up. At least I think I was. Tired, but no migraine, so that’s a plus right there. Lately, my granddaughter has been coming over on Mondays for her weekly sleepover, but not today. She’s going camping this week, so I won’t see her until next week. No migraine, and a day off. So far so good. Throw in beautiful weather, blooming irises, and a female Northern Flicker perched on my car. I should be fine.

So why am I feeling like I can’t get far enough away from myself? Why do I want to scream? There’s nothing wrong. Not a thing. Tell that to my nervous system, please—it’s not listening to me. My body insists that we are a living emergency that must be resolved without delay. It’s blaring an evacuation alarm: run! run! run! Get away from this toxic situation, this life-threatening spring morning. Flee while you can!

I try to breathe deeply, but my lungs insist that shallow is best, quick and fast. They register their protest with a deep ache when I insist on slowing them down. They don’t want so much air all at once. With each breath, I try to pull myself back into my body and sit with my anxiety. I hold it closer and feel it beat against my grip. I don’t want to stay here, not like this, holding myself together so I don’t rupture the fragile bond I have to this life. I’m not used to anxiety. I don’t like how it feels. Depression is a familiar companion, this stranger doesn’t belong in my home. How do I escape? How do I evict myself?

I was sick most of last week with a persistent migraine. Several days I ended up back in bed, unable to sit up. Thinking I was better, I went out to do errands Friday, but the headache returned, staying with me through Saturday. Now numbness has replaced the pain. I’m more aware of one side of my head, as though I had been given a shot of novocain in my temple. The worst has passed, but I’m not completely free.

I often find re-entry after a long migraine challenging. My life doesn’t feel like my own. I forget that I am a capable adult, competent and used to handling daily chores and responsibilities. Today, I feel lost in my life, adrift. It’s unsettling. I am not myself today. I don’t feel like writing. Maybe tomorrow.

…And Losing

THE SEEKER

I am unbelief and contradiction
Shrouded in a skeptic’s gauze,
Duped by love, so doomed to search,
From death to death, unwritten laws.

Once I knew you, oh so certain,
Days I sang your praise to skies
That turned my joy to clouds and rain,
Exposing ancient prayers as lies.

We hide our faces from each other.
Who will find what’s lost to fear?
I swear you don’t exist, but still
I ache for you to draw me near.

Final breath of spirit fills me,
Grieving I exhale the fire—
Charred beliefs consumed in flames
Stoked by the seeker’s own desire.

Wrestling With Demons

MY MOTHER’S PRAYERS

Afraid in the night
Alone with the echoes
In an empty house
I pray my mother’s prayers
Afraid to reach for the light

What grabs at my hand
From the darkness
Who whispers my name
From the shadows
In this empty room

Afraid of the mirrors
More than one face
Stares back at me
I pray my mother’s prayers
Taught to me as a child

Taught to me so I
Would fear the night
And the faces in the mirror
And the shadows on my soul
And the whispers of truth

My mother’s prayers
Echoes in an empty house