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Image by Samara Doole

Willow Witching

Some sorcerers do boast they have a Rod,
Gather’d with Vowes and Sacrifice,
And borne about will strangely nod
To hidden Treasure where it lies.

Epigrams theological, philosophical, and romantick
– Samuel Sheppard, 1651

It seemed a lifetime
my voice was silent,
like a forgotten tongue
on ancient parchment,
driven into darkness,
like a subterranean stream.
I could not even dream,
waking up thirsty
from uneasy sleep.

Then one glorious night,
I dreamed again.
I was a dowser
walking through sunlit woods,
my hair streaked with silver,

I held a willow rod,
my grip firm and sure,
walking by faith,
searching for water.
In my dream, I could
smell it, taste it.

I felt the pull, like a magnet
toward the earth.
I drove my shovel hard
into the dirt, again and again,
the scrape of grit and gravel
a counterpoint to
the thud of blade.

Then the ring of metal
softened, muffled.
The blade stuck.
I rocked the handle
back and forth,
and pulled it out,
like a sword
from a sheath.

The water bubbled up,
cold, clear, shining,
and I drank my fill
in the glow of the sun.

When Glaciers Move

I saw Mt. Rainier once.
It was summer,
but the lodge parking lot
was hip-deep in snow.
I could see the mountain
in the distance, tiny climbers
setting out to scale the summit.

Being Southern, I marveled
at the aquamarine shimmer
of the glaciers, the turquoise tint
of streams opaque with glacial flour.
I was awed by their tale
of geologic time, advancing
in the Ice Age to scour
and shape the landscape,
then retreating, through eons,
revealing an earth changed.

Now I look at you,
your glacier-blue eyes,
and think how we have
crept toward each other
through this lifetime, stumbling
across fields of moraine, clawing
our way out of crevasses,
across time and earth
to find each other.

We bear the striations of our pasts—
the gouged valleys, the rock-strewn plains,
but that age is gone.
We are landscapes scrubbed clean,
our spirits flowing free like snowmelt,
merging into the same stream.

Sharon Wright Mitchell is a teacher and poet. She is a contributor to the anthology I AM STRENGTH: True Stories of Everyday Superwomen and has been published in Independent Variable and The American Journal of Poetry, among others. Ms. Mitchell is a native of the Southeastern US and enjoys hiking the Appalachian foothills with her progeny. Instagram @apoetseyeview. 

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