By Ellen Kartchner Gregory

—for Billie Jeanne Underwood

Just stepped outside when no one was watching,
screen door still swinging. . .

How could you be gone, truly?—
I think of you like Prometheus—
come from a dark place & carrying fire,
coming straight for us—
nimble feet, dark hair, dark eyes, huge smile,
smoke streaming from the stalk in your hand. . .

One for the thought I could just pick up the phone;
one for each bright story wrapped about you;
one for your last say-hey, only a wisp of smoke
dissolving on a late January afternoon,
& sun near down. . .

But I know, deep-rooted, that although
digging-down-rock-hard caliche lasts a good, long time,
so do olive trees—

that we’ll see as we are seen, say, all of us,
with a clean and unsnarled remembrance;
for there we’ll be:

rivening up, like a bold blade of grass,
June flesh June fresh, and strong—

and what had been cleft apart,
heart from mind from soul,
will be a clearness, a joy, a simple moving line,
a thought-with-action, a once-more-just-for-the-pleasure-of-it—

and there we’ll be, laughing with relief,
no longer the light of a waning moon,
the light from an ebbing, far-flung star,
but who we were, who we are, who we really are,
beautiful, and shining, and new—


About Ellen Kartchner Gregory

Ellen Kartchner Gregory was born and raised in southeastern Arizona. She now lives with her husband and their five children in southeastern Idaho, where they garden, cook, eat, and hike.

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