In Witch Hazel Days
a forked stick (tongue)

by Jo Ann Hodshon

In witch hazel days    remembering you
sweeping sweeping under the rug all that

was possibly carrying the smoky scent of
scandal    an invisible wisp of shame in the shape of

the big D word    D for divorce of course you
never told that detail    and what about the

burden    the bump    the huge lump you managed
to stuff under the rug    that which your father so

inconveniently committed    the unmentionable
reason that took your mother to the cemetery every

day from that time until her own forever
burial beside his failed aristocrat persona

Remembering your constant refrains    appropriate
behavior    what people will think    don’t make us ashamed

Divining the truth later

In days of peach-colored cotton candy
clouds rising from the valley at dawn    the

moon a crescent fingernail clipping    remembering
you when you didn’t know anyone not even your

Self in the hospital a flicker of fear in your eyes    lashing
stomping your heels swearing    tied into a chair sliding

floorward    mistaking me for your cousin    asking whatever
happened to the other woman    giving your wedding

ring to a stranger    muttering who are your
children    maybe they do not know

Remembering you stone-faced vanishing

into silence where I could

no longer follow

Jo Ann Hodshon, former English teacher, gardener, homesteader, is still digging, though no longer in the potato patch. She seeks—in memories, in the crack between closed curtains, in the shaft of light in a morning forest—epiphanies of spirit and understanding.

About In Witch Hazel Days—An in-class focus on archetypes and Lorca’s duende provided new paths for me in the challenging but necessary pursuit of meaningful self-expression.