photo by shf

There are things only a crone knows.

There are prayers only she speaks and medicine only she dispenses.

Hers has been a life of dashed hopes and unnecessary worries and inflated egos and violent injustice that still grasps for a safer and saner and kinder world.

Her arms are wide enough and strong enough to hold the sorrows of three generations, sometimes four.

She travels inches, miles, millenia to contact her tribe and adhere to them.

She speaks with the wisdom of birth and death, sickness and healing, sin and mystery, song and magic.

An anthropological wonder, decrepit of station and thriving still, her capacity for forgiveness is legendary and her desire for it even greater.

She recognizes her flaws and knows how to save humanity because of them.

She is honest as the moon, and as willing.

Blessed be the crone.



painting by PJF (1931–2022)

painter of lace and aprons,

of lemons and geese

index finger curled at the edge of her smirk

arrogant aura, part Crawford, part Davis

face parked at the intersection of Amusement and Surprise

pulled out of the South by her own bootstraps

and not without a family’s lashing

kept house like The Ritz

gave leftovers to squirrels

six decades of marriage twice left her a widow

mother once and stepmother twice

Mother Teresa she was not

but she knew where she wanted to be

and figured out how to get there

on terms all her own


Our Lady

brava for that



photo by shf

I stand on uneven ground

scattered with frosted leaves at dawn.

Sky stretches in gradients of gray

and the clarity of sunrise is hidden.

Magpies congregate,

their yellow beaks cheerful flashes

in the mute of morning.

I step onto the path, dog tails wagging alongside,

and thank the breath and bones and will

that send me forth,

pivot of potential on the pilgrim journey,

one of many given gravity

by the ever present ballast of Love.