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Worn Days

Carol Lee Saffioti-Hughes

Through the broken gate and up the path--

partly mowed, mostly overgrown--the sun hovers over the pine line.

Moments past become moments present, sand and milkweed

under foot, the silken seeds of the pods

unopened, full waiting for a future time to burst what holds back.

Wind and sun must conspire to open

carry faint beginnings to their end, some on the side of the road

some on stone, some on sand--only few to find good ground.

The air laden with the past weaving into future births

that must be shed from bobbing, dying pods cupped like hands

that will break.


The sand yields signs of  paw prints, hooves, leavings that say

many animals have passed this way.  They don't wait for me

to walk among them, always leaving signs of movement

recorded in, and on the ground. The past passing before me

as I walk, sliding tall grass heads through my fingers,

a lingering sent of rust and green in my palm, seeds fall

from my hands.  And I wonder how many times the sun has

come up over this field, making my wanderings meager.

How can all be always well, when

the boards fade, the barn roof caves, and broken roof pieces

let the rain fall in. 


                             When in becomes out,  all becomes the home

for nesting things. They weave webs in corners,

scurry along beams, into small spaces--

they wait. Future time will so easily become past.

My life will shrivel while long weeds thrive,

no one here to pick up fallen shingles, shutters.

The house will fall back, the path become unseeable.

What survives will be what was here all along.



                                               Will my spirit return here

join with wind and seeds

along a horizon where trees become air?

“Poetry is my 911.” Emerita professor of English, Carol Lee Saffioti-Hughes has also served as a librarian in a northwoods log cabin in Wisconsin, and is a former volunteer EMT. A member of the Wisconsin Fellowship of Poets and Root River Poets, her work has appeared in journals in four countries, with several poems translated into Chinese. Poetry has recently appeared in Of Rust and Glass, San Antonio Review, Dos Gatos Press, The Awakenings Project, Moss Piglet, Poetry Hall, Ekphrastic Review and many others. Saffioti-Hughes’s work has been anthologized in "Unsettling America" (Penguin Press) and the Root River Anthologies. Have gathered agates along Lake Superior, pine cones in the Cheqaumegon Nicolet National Forest, and hundreds of ticks along our hiking trails. Her most recent chapbook, "When Wilding Returns," is available from Cyberwit Press( Having suffered the death of a child, her work has appeared in several grief-related publications.

Edward Miller
That High Lonesome Sound

Bill Baynes
matters of importance

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