You have to rise up, you have to reach deeply,
You have to search for a witness.
You can’t hide under a blade of grass forever.
Reveal yourself to the redwood,
embracing the sacred, too immense to
put your arms around,
too strong to bend to your will.
Reveal yourself to the ocean,
waiting to cover your arms and toes
in an aqueous expanse, the tide rising up
to the moon, whispering to you its power.
Reveal yourself to the mountain,
study the shadows, but ask
for a path forward. Reveal yourself to the sky,
open to the sun’s warmth, or the shelter of gray skies,
the mist on your face to awaken you.
Reveal yourself to the prairie, the vastness
encircles you. Sing to the wide open fields
and the never ending horizon.
The trees hear you cry out. The ocean feels
your toes dab at the water’s edge.
The mountain sees you. The sky wraps you in its arms.
The prairie holds you up, your reflection in the sunrise,
your tenderness in the setting sun.
What is it that makes you, yourself,
and not anybody else?
In a wild place of last resort,
breathe into the life that is you.
Give it back for want of nothing.
~ Julie Flora
Julie Flora lives and works in Topeka, KS. She lives with her husband, Vaughn, her cat, Lightin’ and her dog Zenny. Julie has five children and seven grandchildren. Her roots are Southern, but she claims the Prairie as her home. She moved to KS in 2010 to marry the love of her life. She writes, reads, swims and watches biographical documentaries in her free time.
Guest Editor Caryn Mirriam-Goldberg, Kansas Poet Laureate Emerita, is the author of 23 books, including Miriam’s Well, a novel; Needle in the Bone, a non-fiction book on the Holocaust; and a forthcoming book of poetry, How Time Moves: New and Selected Poems. Founder of Transformative Language Arts, Mirriam-Goldberg also leads writing workshops widely, coaches people on writing and right livelihood through the arts, and consults with businesses and organizations on creativity.