Between Here | Heidi Mordhorst

Between Chapters of
Braiding Sweetgrass

I start sawing it off, just the one trunk
and then I remember to ask
permission of the tree   lay hands on it   
wait a moment   wonder
what can I give in return?   start
sawing again    an awkward angle
if it hurts you it should pain me too
then   I hope maybe I’m kind of
returning you to the privacy
of your own privet heritage
(or is the privet hedge a human construct,
not your natural state?) but
I’m sawing every which way because 
unlike Potawatomi black ash basket weavers
I do. not. know.   what I’m doing

I’m sawing until I hear you tear, begin to break
I keep sawing your clean bright interior
I keep sawing with my hand on your
and then you’re down, separated from your siblings
and now yes  there’s more room for my patio umbrella
my    you’re heavy and I pitch you onto the lawn
and then I    with actual drops of
sweaty anguish on my forehead    I heft you
onto my shoulder and walk toward the pile of yard trim
             I bless your wayward growing
             I bless your foot of rooting
             I bless your leg of standing
             I bless your trunk of ringing bark
             I bless your shouldering of branches and leaves
             I bless your arm and hand of waving each
                           			and every season

and instead of laying you on the pile of yard trim
I exert my weakling gratitude and stand you up
against a manmade wooden fence  so that the end    
does not feel so quick.

Bicycle Among Buttercups
Photograph ©2015 Semih Aydin via Unsplash

Here  [A Resolution]

Where, as the sun rises, the same old birds announce
     light again and all seems well;
Where, as each minute seven new souls arrive snatching
     at breath, water, life;
Where, as the children are sleeping in the next room,
     gas leaks from the stove all night;
Where, as we clothe ourselves, shreds of plastic fall
     from our bodies to shower the soil;
Where, as fifth grade, in its overheated classroom, asks
      if the sun will explode;
Where, as we inhabit in this generation a right to
     prosperity and also low prices;
Where, as we have long since crossed local apparent
     noon and approach our twilight;
Where, as each minute four hundred eighty-three
     trees meet our diamond swords;
Where, as night falls, longitude by longitude, we
     resist with switches;
Where, as some hit the drive-through, some open a
     can and some put on a pot to boil, 
                                                                          for we all must eat;

Be it therefore resolved that everything is happening
     here, and now, 
to each and every one of us; and if your liberation is
     bound up with mine, 
then let us be here now, and brew the coffee and stew
     the beans and 
walk the children to school together, allowing a narrow
     latitude of grace
and keeping our eye on the bending arc of this place, this
     small patch and grand horizon, 
Where, as, we live.

©2023 Heidi Mordhorst
All rights reserved

Heidi Mordhorst…

…is the author of two collections of poetry for young readers as well as contributions to journals and anthologies for both adults and children. She taught in public schools for 35 years and recently served on the NCTE Excellence in Poetry Award Committee. Heidi now coaches young writers and provides poetry enrichment classes in Montgomery County, MD.


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Be inspired… Be creative… Be peace… Be

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