Finding My Voice
by Kim Zoe Potter
In the shadow of Mount WilcoxFirst Place WinnerThird Place Winner
at the stone-lined fire pit
I stack tinder, twigs, sticks and logs.
I cleanse the space with sacred sage,
strike a match and light the fire.
The sweet, piney cedar sprigs begin to smolder
and mingle with the white smoke of tobacco leaves.
Twelve boxes of hand-written journals,
each book bound in colorful fabric,
recording, reporting for forty years,
placed one by one on the blaze.
The flames grow intense
like the red-hot history
that burns in my belly.
I watch the circle of thick smoke spiral
along with the stories,
like the glowing amber sparks
that escape into the black night sky.
Years of unshed tears emerge,
then dry on my cheeks in the heat
like my unspent rage.
Then, in the moonlight on the deck
in the deep, white, clawfoot tub,
I submerge in the hot rose-milk soak.
I stare at the stars, and drink the silence,
the steam curling wisps of loose hair.
Let go, let go, let go, I chant.
Goodbye to old stories
they made me live
the fake smiles,
the life that never worked out,
the losses, the grief, the shame.
In the crisp autumn air
I remember to breathe
and suddenly see a new path through the stars:
I can write my own life, change course where it suits me.
There, down below!
An ember warms the ash pit,
just a spark and I begin.
About the Author:
“I enjoy transforming memories into poems, taking a few moments in time and playing with language to paint a picture for readers.”