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I think of the way she bent over tide pools at night: a woman stooped in the dark with her flashlight as if she were stepping into the lit harness of her work. I think of the way she lay under the stars because they were medicine: Tumors near the collarbone. Pain in her spine. Radiation. Krebiozen. Arthritis. Iritis. Sightless for weeks. Listening as her friend read a draft out loud. Remembering the robin that fell dead from a branch. I think of the pages of notes about pesticides— I moan inside—and I wake in the night and cry out silently for Maine– And then, more notes about pesticides. I think of the way the moon glazed the water when she crossed out words and wrote other words. I think of the way she knew that eels slid from brook to brook and then to the sea. I’m in luck, because brown is cheapest, she said, when she bought a wig to cover her bald head at the Senate. I could never again listen happily to a thrush song, she said, if I had not done all I could.” They called her spinster. Alarmist. Communist. I think of the eagles who came back because of her. I think of her open gaze. Her resolve. Her refusal to turn away from the wreck.
Ellery Akers’ latest book is Swerve: Poems on Environmentalism, Feminism, and Resistance (1st World Publishing, 2020).
Copyright 2020 Ellery Akers