Poem: And I Have Survived, by Stacy Torian

Your best dress was an apron, weighted with sticks, dyes, hairpins, and racy novels. An apron pocket could hold anything that mattered, and you knew it

You knew just about everything, the perfect pitch for a scold, the multiple anatomies of faith, when enough was enough.

The old hubby must have hated you for it. All that knowing and hope

the hair that never grayed, those crooked feet that lined up just long enough to stomp his grave shut

Free at last

Free at last

Thank God Almighty

I’m free at last

Your last words at the grave. A free woman could walk through a dead man’s woods and pick any branch she wanted. You plucked the best, and chewed and cut, until the bitter ends became brush blossoms, an uncanny art fit for a happy seer’s mouth.

Aunt Ila, show me the way to the branches. I walk on long, straight legs, keep a desperate pace, grow gray before my time, lose sleep, and still do not find them.

There are things that cannot be worked out or understood, things that must simply be accepted, like the path to the branches, and the passing of time.

The Tuvan wisdom brought by your spirit during last month’s waking hours, I have accepted, with a loaded heart.

I am ready for the past that lies ahead. The end I feared most has happened. And I have survived.

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