The 2River View 26.3 (Spring 2022)

Sara Eddy

Coming Back

Some days on the path
you feel how the weight
of your ribs and your
old breasts hangs on
frayed rope safety-pinned
to your aching shoulders.
Some days the pine trees
rub a song against each other
and you feel the bowl of your pelvis
slop with the vast soup
of your guts, while your
hips grind in their sockets
like a ball point pen
in a dusty desk drawer.
Some days your head echoes
with phantom memory
or true, and the muscles
in your neck feel inadequate
to holding the container 
of your skull.  But Pileated
woodpeckers insist.
Bobcats and weasels
impel you from the shadows.
Trees talk to each other
about the rain, and days
come when your back
feels straight and strong,
and pine needles love 
your sure and steady feet.

What Binds You

to the earth
that has been tracked
into your kitchen by the dog?
How far will you go
in your attachment
to the base good
of soil, humus, loam
when the next steps are mop,
oil soap, dog bath?
Some things are good
only in the right context—
weeds that heal bee-sting
(common plantain),
encourage digestion
(yellow dock),
or make a good salad better
(stinging nettle)—
but a nettle is a nettle, too:
on bright afternoons in the garden
when you’re gathering currants
your hand will brush its perilous leaves
and its sting will last for days.
And now you must decide
whether to uproot the patch
or suffer for your salads.

Sara Eddy is author Tell the Bees (A3 Press) and Full Mouth (Finishing Line).  She has published widely in journals, most recently in Fine Print, The Mantle, and Threepenny Review. She is Assistant Director of the writing center at Smith College

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