Shoulder-high clumps of spent grain bend low
over the lush green that weaves itself
through summer’s stiff leavings—every blade
a child burst from its seed. How did they survive
winter unbroken, only bowing their heads
under the weight of the snow? A bluebird lights
on feathered tassel, surveys woods and field
for a mate. Once, I too found love on open ground,
rose from dewed lawn in a green gown, grew heavy
with daughters. When my belly swelled a third time
I dreamed he’d die too soon. The next week
he was gone. Does it matter where? How long
I waited by the window? After all
these years, the bitter apple no longer fruits
in the field. Its branches are instead lit with birds.
Every eave, too, holds a full nest, a mother
who flutters to the fringetree when I open
the door, let myself through the gate into the pasture,
where you’ll find me now, dowry returned in full,
swaying in the swirl of ten thousand grass widows.
Kathie Collins, Cofounder and Creative Director of Charlotte Center for Literary Arts, is a poet, mythologist, and lifelong student of Jungian psychology. She earned her graduate degrees in Mythological Studies at Pacifica Graduate Institute, where she also served as adjunct faculty. She is author of Jubilee (Main Street Rag). Her poems have appeared in various publications, including Immanence, Kakalak, and Between.