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Tangled, sleepless, a dried-out hydrangea ball

snaps off and rolls on the wind into the woods


where it lives out the rest of its days untethered

from its garden. That is, it finishes decaying,


a few more petals breaking off every day,

a tear at the edge of this one, a crack there, until


gradually it’s just a skeleton, and then not anything

with a name that a casual walker might know.


It may not make sense, when it comes to decay,

to think, though, of finishing. The brittle hydrangea


continues its progress. All my life I’ve thought

of myself as a being in the world. But was I wrong?


I walk in the woods. I try not break off the trail.

Am I of the woods? Am I of the trail? Am I of the world?


Could that embrace be what is meant by God’s love?

Last night I dreamt I was gradually losing touch.


I remembered who and where I was some of the time,

only enough to realize some of the time I hadn’t.


I had been somewhere incomprehensible.

My children loved me. I could see that when I was clear.


But I was losing them. I was losing everyone I loved.

A short way into the woods, I am trying to imagine


something, like love, as much of the world as the beings

that tumble through it. Minute by minute, I think this.

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About Judith Chamler

Judith Chalmer is the author of two books of poems, including "Minnow" (Kelsay Books 2020). Her poems have appeared in anthologies such as "Roads Taken: Contemporary Vermont Poetry," "Queer Nature," and "Rewilding: Poems for the Environment," and in journals such as "Nimrod International" and "Lilith." 

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