Like Water: A Poem for International Women’s Day

#InternationalWomensDay2019

 

Like Water

We put out fires

And forge the unexpected paths

Through the oldest mountains.

Do you ever stop to think about

How we overcome changes of space and time

Like a magic trick

That no one sees,

Or that everyone expects?

We take on new forms constantly,

And make it look like serenity itself

Like the most natural thing in the world.

 

Thank you to all the women who carry the health of an entire family on your back, sometimes with no acknowledgment for the way you have sacrificed your status, your body, the dreams of a younger self. Thank you, also, to those women who flaunt their intelligence and expertise in the workplace, who are not afraid to be called “bossy,” because they know they are simply leaders.  These paths are seen as oppositions to one another, but they are not. They are both brave. Neither is understood fully by society. We choose one, the other, or some combination of both. There is rarely a situation wherein everyone understands our choices. We make them anyway.

Thank you for those who do things differently, to the warriors who never felt supported.  Thank you to those who appear so very delicate on the outside, but who love more strongly than anyone else in the world.

Thank you to the mothers and the daughters and the friends who know exactly what words are needed to heal a broken heart. Thank you, friends, for the way you have taught and inspired all of us.

 

 

Your Last Autumn

It drifted in twirling pathways

Of deep grey rain and golden sunbursts

On the mountains

–Your last autumn.

Anxious finches, the rustling light on leaves.

The world in memory. The world in preparation.

Only in Fall

Can the world be angled so differently.

Your eyes were a cerulean blue,

Like the sky,

Your last autumn.

I wonder what moments were focused in those lenses.

Crinkly-smile lines and warm sweater hugs?

The final leaf falls, in a sigh.

But now it is some other Fall,

And I see grays and golds

And blues

And you.

-Kathryn Gustafson, 2016