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Wild Strawberries

Sep. 17, 2012
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I am going back to Ohio to see the purple

redbuds bloom, and the forest

floor covered with phlox,

gray sky hanging down

as the river flows over its banks

staining the cornfields with brown pools.

I am going back to visit that place of rust and ruin

solvents poured out the backdoor of a bomb factory

crumbling asbestos, lead paint peeling,

friends struggling with cancer. When I gathered

so much environmental health data

that no one wanted to hear

finally I had to leave. The one thing I learned

stumbling over the broken brick wall

of an abandoned paper mill

to pause beside the cracked dam

where the creek sings as it falls

is how persistently spring returns

even after ice layered up so thick

breaks the branches of century-old maples

and the pump dies and the furnace won’t work

outside mouse-ear chickweed opens beside jonquils

wolf spiders as big as my hand leap and spin

and one April walking beneath a stand of dead oak

I found a turtle working its way up out of red mud.

June comes along the edge of fallow fields

peppering the green with tiny hearts

wild strawberries sweeter than sugar

popping one after another on my tongue,

I realize we die or survive.  Spring comes.

I am going back to see it once again.




Ann Filemyr now serves as the Academic Dean at the Institute of American

Indian Arts in Santa Fe where she also teaches in the BFA Creative Writing

program. She got her start as a poet in Milwaukee and is returning to give

a reading at Woodland Pattern on Sunday, September 30 at 2 pm and share

her two new books of poetry, The Healer's Dairy (Sunstone Press, 2012) and

Growing Paradise (LaNana Creek Press, 2011).  She received an MA in English

at UWM with an emphasis in Poetry and her PhD from Union Institute & The

University of  Ohio.




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