When I open the letters
more than words fly out;
bees alert for the first hint of pollen
crawl out between the pages,
circle my head and disappear.
It’s all there
our honeymoon, that fishing trip
of tangled lines,
later spring days spent hiking near the river,
even our still born we buried in the rocks.
In my fingers, grit and an odd tickle:
tiny red ants retrace
the path of each sentence in my hands.
They know what it means
to follow one thing after another
in the constant search for sweetness.
He writes of the abandoned cat,
never really welcome, and
all our separate friends,
no mention of weeks passed
in heated silence,
or the one last entry
I would write to remember
the whine of the screen door
before it slapped the house.
Folding the letters,
there’s a low hum,
an irritating prickle on the skin
that I am sure my younger self
brushed aside, smiling,
when she handled these pages,
thinking of honey.
"Hindsight" by Helen Puciloski was originally published in CALYX Journal, vol. 25, no. 2, 2009.
Entering a Wild Place
For Katie Radditz
To get to Westwind,
we leave our cars at the gate
where the caretaker waits
with a flatbed to haul sleeping bags
and gear to camp. At high tide,
a barge follows the estuary
to the sea and we could ride it,
but our timing is wrong. We have to walk.
“It’s about a mile,” he tells us.
but it is something more than a mile.
Our eyes squint as we scan the tree canopy
for the source of bird trills-
wrens we can’t see in the branches
forty feet above us. With each step,
the old mind chatter
becomes more subdued.
Elk leave tracks in the muddy places.
Salmonberry is in bloom. Humming birds
flit among the brambles. Their movements
pulse like electricity. They surround us,
but it takes half a mile
for us to spot one,
a flash of rust brown against green brambles
as it drinks from the cup of a flower.
The sight of that tiny bird’s throat,
so bright and unexpected-
a new thought.
"Entering a Wild Place" by Helen Puciloski was originally published in Windfall, A Journal of Poetry of Place, vol. 11, no. 1, 2012.