The Grace of the Tamarack Tree by Suzanne VanHoever

Worn photos
show someone I didn’t know.
A snapshot of a time before,
the charcoal was washed from your hands.

Someone without
thin, frail, sunbaked skin,
clinging softly to protruding bones.

I remember
strawberry oatmeal,
in the morning sun
and red goulash on bread,
in the orange dusk.
The creak of the decaying barn
matching the sound of your soul.

Red-winged blackbirds
watching from the swamp
noticed your pain
and called to you.
Swallows nesting
in the peak of the splintered barn
noticed your joy
and sang to you.

All that’s left of you,
a name on a scrap of paper,
an old address on a torn envelope
never to be delivered
to freckled hands and
saddened hearts.

But the blackbirds call
your memory
back to me.


Bringing Joy: A Local Literary Welcome Copyright © 2021 by Fond du Lac Tribal and Community College. All Rights Reserved.

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