A Woman’s Hymn

my farmor’s mor (father’s mother’s mother), Annie Ahlstrom Leo / family archives

we carry the weight of the world

bearers of water, of custom, of men

our creative powers shine in the eyes of the young

and we divine songs to heal the sorrows born by gain

we teach ourselves

to gather the dirty laundry

soak it in vats of forgiveness

we speak when the occasion demands

or sit silent or wail

we arrive to each morning

ready again to hold the world together

with soapy water and a drying towel

we reach toward understanding the languages

of land and sky and sea

and keep our promises

with what we’ve been given

Annie (far right) and her sisters / family archives