our hands talk without
needing words, nudging
and reaching, silently tapping
there are sounds as we work
side by side, the crackle snapping
as logs settle in the stone fireplace,
the steady breathing as i find a rhythm
to match the heartbeat slowed
from too much time in the village.
grandmother smooths open handwritten
lists, shaky scrawls thrown out in loop
lines, casting a net for cures, most
desperate and trapped in pain.
most of the secrets of the forest are
not meant to be secrets at all, they
are there for the willing and for those
who wish to see. but somehow beyond
the trees, underneath the bright cloudless
skies, people become blind.
my pestle grinds,
heavy in my hand,
i let it do the work,
turning dried leaves to powder,
crushing hard berry pebbles
to make them more suitable
for human consumption.
they say grandmother is magic,
but she says the world is magic,
i believe her. no secret incantations,
fanciful imaginings of villagers—
a simple thing
to commune with nature,
to let it speak
and let it be.
we fill and tie muslin, funnel tinctures into
glass of cobalt, emerald and amber.
once they are corked, nestled deep in
woven straw, grandmother speaks.
go with care,
she says as she ties my
red cloak closed, for i
am forever her child—
outside of the forest, beware.