I have always done things the hard way––
cutting through razor wire, sitting in protest
until the cops yanked us by the hair.
After turning down the millionaire,
I boiled the baby’s diapers on the wood stove––
but in summer I danced into the pale light of morning.
There were men, there were women––
mostly I lived more fiercely than that,
my head full of road-songs, the secret of seeds,
Masters of War. Once I climbed an oak tree
I had planted thirty years before. The leaves,
like orange hands, pulled me high and higher.
When I went fasting in the woods,
the hours would open their mouths wider,
the verge of the pond carried on endlessly.
I know of padded cells and stifling nightmares.
But age is ageless. So rock me––like glass,
we are sharp, molten, shattered, redone.
It’s like the death penalty––
once you have handed it down,
then do it, already. Don’t let it drag on.
Leonore Hildebrandt has work published or forthcoming in the Denver
Quarterly, Drunken Boat, the Cimarron Review, the Beloit Poetry Journal, the
Poetry Salzburg Review, the Quercus Review, and the Spoon River Poetry
Review, among other journals. Translations of Rilke’s Elegies appeared in
Cerise Press. Her letterpress chapbook, The Work at Hand, is available from
Flat Bay Press, and a first book-length collection, The Next Unknown, is
forthcoming from Pecan Grove Press.
A native of Germany, Hildebrandt lives “off the grid” in easternmost Maine and
teaches writing at the University of Maine. She is a member of the Flat Bay
Collective, serves as an editor for the Beloit Poetry Journal, and runs the
Maine Writers Series at the University of Maine at Machias.
Photo: Ann Harbor
by Leonore Hildebrandt