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( www.cyberwit.net). Having suffered the death of a child, her work has appeared in several grief-related publications.