Three Poems by Jennifer Pratt-Walter

Then I Woke Up
Then I woke up, my memory remade,
still slender as the dream of the chickadee
outside the bedroom window.
Then I woke more and wandered
through the garden, the coral azalea
releasing its lurid scent indiscriminately
over the just and the unjust,
the young ones and me, the unsure elder.
I thrice awoke, reeling to the perfect homily
of Nature and her unbound truths
masquerading as a slow walk around the yard,
her small prophets the mourning doves
and tree frogs, her flowers calling bees
to their mumbling tasks, life aiding life
      They preached this to all who would understand
in this time of separation and dread:
even apart, we are all still a dazzling bouquet
just waiting to happen.

When a dam breaks open,
the wound in the lake’s exit calls valiantly
to refill, to settle amid the flood,
to change the story downstream.
The truths you revealed were curled up
in the depths and mud like a sturgeon
all along.  Even in crisis,
even in our collective grief for your loss,
there must come a new field of sight.  
We are the hopeful salmon smolt,
shaken free to seek, unseen,
the sea ringing through our combined synapses.
We must ride that turbulent tide,
we are part of your lake wherever we swim.
What can you do when feelings
are too loud to lie still and be trapped
on paper?
What can you do when your wild-horse soul
imprisoned in its small corral grows wings
no fence can hold?
What can you do when your fiery heart
ignites the cold agate squeezing its rage out
in the center of your chest?
Scrawl upon the sky!

Jennifer Pratt-Walter is an elder and Crone making her way by recognizing the everyday miracles found in the small or mundane.  She is a musician, poet, photographer and soft-hearted farmer. Jennifer has three grown children and disabled husband. 

Editor-in-Chief Laura Lee Washburn is the Director of Creative Writing at Pittsburg State University in Kansas, and the author of This Good Warm Place: 10th Anniversary Expanded Edition (March Street) and Watching the Contortionists (Palanquin Chapbook Prize). Her poetry has appeared in such journals as TheNewVerse.News, Carolina Quarterly, Ninth Letter, The Sun, and Valparaiso ReviewHarbor Review’s chapbook prize is named in her honor. She expects her next collection, The Book of Stolen Images (Meadowlark) to be out in a few months.


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