4. To the Stars Through Difficulty: Hazel Smith Hutchinson

and at first light ice invites fire remembrance      camp   kitchen   bedroom
summer’s burnt grasslands and sun-scorched skin

outside the stone-eyed snowgirl grows up cold
hard enough to endure the harsh world before she turns to slush

fire lends itself to stale tales no longer serving life   smolder and blaze
fanned flames serve up ash and haze linking earth and deep blue sky

hearth-keepers line the path to guide us back   you and I
to heart’s hearth where shadow and light sit   side by side

come back    to the hearth    to the heart     to the soul
tending fire

    —Hazel Smith Hutchinson


120. With the Knowing

in memory of my beloved nephew, Sean Patrick Arey, who chose to remove himself from this planet February 28, 2001

two and a half decades before this

godawful month arrived a

darkness gripped his neighborhood:

moms, dads, and kids of all ages search

each white-birched, pined backyard

near-white faces look up and down his street

wide eyes walk the edges of the lake

beneath where he sleeps at night

in his own hiding place

his gray-streaked-black-haired mama

finds him and weeps

yesterday I received word again

we’ve lost Sean:

my body convulses with the knowing

and I wish to God we could turn back time

to find our precious innocent one asleep

unaware that outside his very bedroom walls

the world searches for him

from the wall-less-ness of wide-sky country

I remember the black-haired baby I cuddled

the dark-eyed little boy I played with

the pimply-faced kid who saved my son

the gray-streaked-black-haired daddy of three

and I weep and know

how you look at a brilliant orange sun

resting at the end of the prairie

and you turn to the east or to the north

when maybe you shouldn’t have turned at all

because you look up a second later

and the sun’s gone

— Hazel Smith Hutchinson

first published in The Awakenings Review

Hazel Smith Hutchinson, a SoulCollage® Facilitator (artensoulcollage.com), grew up in Maine and started a new life in Kansas with her sweet-souled Kansas man 33 years ago.  She has been published in The Flint Hills Review, The Mid America Poetry Review, The Awakenings Review, Animus, and others.