Under a September sun, I walk near the lake
among the holiness of trees,
sweet birch, red oak, pitch pine.
Said to be homes of spirits, they bend & sway,
make wind-music through rustling leaves—
God’s language in the arithmetic of trees.
Last September the church bells rang off-key
& the crows, like black pearls,
strung themselves across the fence.
I called my mother on the phone. No answer.
Drove to her house, knocked on the door. No answer.
I struggled to unlock the door with the key
she’d given me years before.
The inside chain lock was secured.
My insides churned knots and nerves.
What I knew of trust darkened at the door.
What I knew of trees, wind and God
faded under my feet once entering the house.
Today, I fall behind on bills, wash, housework.
Forget my catch-up plan, lose my to-do list.
Why can’t things just fall into place?
My therapist tells me I need to practice self-care.
But why can’t grief just fall away?
Louisa Muniz lives in Sayreville, N.J. She holds a Master’s in Curriculum and Instruction from Kean University. Her work has appeared in Tinderbox Poetry Journal, Palette Poetry, Menacing Hedge, Poetry Quarterly, PANK Magazine, Jabberwock Review and elsewhere. She won the Sheila-Na-Gig 2019 Spring Contest for her poem “Stone Turned Sand”. Her work has been nominated for Best of the Net and a Pushcart Prize. Her debut chapbook, After Heavy Rains by Finishing Line Press, was released in December 2020.