By Caroline Hesby, TIWP Student
Change rides the wind like a wave.
It washes over your sinking body
growing to a white cap then
retreating to a ripple
but always swirling around your soul.
Do I hurt more to curl up safely in my youth
or do I hurt more to shed my withered skin
and leave all I’ve known behind?
The tide pushes me forward, forward.
I’m collecting pearls. I learned to hold my breath
and let my lungs fall to the rhythm of the sea and I’m collecting
pearls at the bottom, I enjoy each one and its clean white shimmer
or its soft pink grains.
I’m hopping gently across stepping stones in a small stream.
I keep my head down
and with each leap my heart pounds
with the shore in sight.
I stop in the middle.
It’s quiet and the trees rustle in the evening air.
I look behind me,
and the little gray stones are gone,
and my path is turned to rushing water,
blurry and ungraspable
like a movie, like a memory.
My legs grow weary, I wobble
and I wonder,
but how shall I go back?
What if I want to go back?
I feel a warm gust from ahead wrap me in its warmth
and the river pushes me forward,
I trudge through the dense forest
peering into tree lines and shadows.
The sun breaks through the covering
and leaves a trail of gold that I follow.
My pack grows heavy, stuffed with hours,
days, with years.
How could these minutes be so heavy? I ask.
I drop to the soft dirt and look inside the bag.
Its dusty and discolored, I look anxiously
at these familiar moments
that I drag
through the land.
I scoop out the content—
just a dusting of color left—
and leave the junk pile
on the forest floor.
It’s unusable, helpless—but it’s a pile of me
and my hours and my days and my years and they weigh me down but they’re mine,
and how am I supposed to leave me behind?
I feel the weightless space on my shoulders,
I wonder if I’m floating.
I move away,
from the pieces of me
scattered across the Earth–
they shall sink into the ground
and seep into the roots
and I will keep moving forward,
As I walk I recall these green forests
in their dying crimson and gold.
I recall the roots of a woman’s brown locks
melting to a silver snow white,
and the clam’s shell building up
year by year, the pastel ridges
protecting the treasure within.
I fall back to the sea
and I’m grateful for this ocean,
the water rises and falls against the curves of my body
and I never grow stiff in this ever changing tide–
I close my eyes.
I know the blue sky may burst
to a warm pink and orange while I rest,
but I don’t mind–
I feel the sun moving forward,