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by Mary Gilliland




Rue, bloodroot edge
paths through the woods--dear
ground of being, dear water and fire
dear thrush and ash--
a ravine where the wisest course
is to settle to the bottom
to flow on
--dear framework of the ages
dear horror and beauty
dear moon and sun--
a firmament of wanderers.
It sparkles, the world at the end.

Those of us with mouths stagger
what we can’t keep saying.
Others lock their tears in flesh,
stand up to fate, to cold earth settling
until privacy lets a sigh shudder forth.
The bravest compost mums and lilies
and tell friends each time the hurt brushes
its cobweb across their fingers.
These are our ways of saying
we are:

That folly unhinges a door.
That struck trees bloom.
That sound is slow, waves break
faster than we hear them.


“Watchwords” first appeared in Anima

Mary Gilliland
172 Pearsall Place
Ithaca, NY 14850

Metaphysical Times
Volume X Number 5
Winter 2015/2016


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