A girl became a stump became a leaf
that fell come fall as leaves should do.
As her report cards always said,
She follows directions well.
Directions became potato shoots,
that know only to reach toward light.
And light, she found it where she could,
in poetry, cello strings, rooms of white
with bowls of blue, howls, herons, hardwood
floors, in windows etched with yes, yes, yes.
It’s not easy to make a map of such things.
Take a right at the sparrow with wounded wings.
And wings became if, and if became words,
and words became morning sun.
And begin, and begin, and begin, and begin,
and begin again when we are done.
And questions turn into euphoric flight,
and a stump becomes a stream.
She’s a river of birds in migration,
and below the hunter stands ready, aim.
Fire becomes ash becomes dance
(add breath), becomes whatever is love.
We tumble like leaves unloosed from their trees
when the right words aren’t enough.
When I wrote this poem I was thinking about transitions—how things change in such unpredictable ways. I found that it was a pleasure to let the images lead into each other. I patterned my poem on a poem called “Transformations” by Nobel Prize Winning Poet Jaroslav Seifert, in which he is exploring how one thing turns into another.
If you were to write about a present transition, perhaps a job or a relationship, you might want to start with an object that represents that change to you. A desk. A door. A letter. And then see where the imagination goes. —Rosemerry