Natural Woman

I didn’t make it
all the way
to the woods
before the silvery stretch
of quiet highway
claimed me,
a sentimental victim,
creeping forward
and I collapsed
against the wheel
in tears,
bent before the open sky.

A moment
of freedom
overwhelmed.

Pulling over,
I saw the small Amish school
just ahead,
with the dozen or so pairs
of shoes lined up outside
on a shelf.
The tears rolled
as quietly as the years
as I sat recalling
lonely playgrounds,
time lost to hope,
and answers I found only in books.

Nostalgia
dismissed
in the forgotten.

Pulling up to the lake
to begin my walk,
geese welcomed me,
their curses and squawks
just like family.
My tree,
though broken,
still shivered a greeting
and tears welled again,
as I found my step
more sure in the woods
than anywhere else.

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