Hike in the Woods
We three mothers trudge up
the leaf strewn path. We stoop
to collect ruby-red leaves, share them
with each other like treasure.
We walk to collect ourselves.
We flex our tree trunk calves,
feel our hips sway beneath us,
hips that have held onto men,
held up these children
who now spirit past us.
We enumerate our aches and pains
and the aches and pains of our husbands.
There are pitfalls and ledges ahead.
Changes are coming and we want to weep,
but the children won’t let us.
They zoom past, sweater-clad bullets,
shot over rocks and the roots of trees
shouting “move out of the way adults!”
They fly past and we are
displaced goddess mothers
with sticks, stones, and feathers
stuffed in our pockets; the keepers
of water bottles and granola bars.
Once, they couldn’t live without us.
Now we are mostly in their way.
Like the autumn trees screaming
their yearly goodbyes, we intend
to go down in a blaze of glory,
hanging onto our vitality until the last.
We cannot explain how this works,
but we are not even close to dead.