Back to the Wild
In ferns and flowering oxalis beneath grandmother
redwoods, I find the self unafraid of society
breaking into unmanageable shards.
Nettles and wild iris, purple as
a bruise, sway in the breeze, singing
in ancient tongues. Gracie says
I could live in the woods, happy and unencumbered,
as we walk over bay and oak roots and miles
of mycelium, a parachute threaded with our
shared genetic bones. Sitting on redwood duff,
sunlight reflects a perfect circular
web, and I am unwilling to walk back,
wanting to halt time, like the red-shouldered
hawk soaring above us
to become a new kind of stillness
a new kind of alive.
The Dying Time
for my mother
In the hospital bed, an
operatic tune shoots from your
mouth, a trilling vibration, as if the ululating
cries carry you closer to the ethereal
edge, weight of your body
disappearing into refrain, into a tighter shell.
You could have been an opera singer except
a housewife, children, and career
were not woven into the 50’s
so the music slipped away, those last years
almost nothing melodic except commercials
and old movie tracks on TV.
Above your head, a G, an A, a high B
undulate the air. You are running the scales,
betting on the sweet spot, humming
to be released.
We encircle you, sing you a
bridge, a language for your crossing
lay yourself down on the rocks now
three generations of women, chanting,
cradling you with our voices
let your body down in the river
sacred minutes, as if water empties you of song,
of sorrow buried deep in the cells
listen to the drumming on the other side
an invisible raft, lip of the horizon
you are destined for
lose yourself in the meantime
the leaving place,
where the call of blackbirds
with their red-tipped wings
can take your breath away.
Claire Drucker has published her poems in numerous journals, including the Women Artists Datebook, Epiphany, Puerto del Sol, and many others. Her last chapbook, The Fluid Body, was published by Finishing Line Press. She teaches English at a local community college and lives in Sebastopol, California, where she loves to swim, dance, and play marimbas.