Leveler Poetry Journal
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when I awoke

heat river water

over the fire ring

I couldn’t look

stand in a metal bin

pour the steaming liquid

over my bare body

at him he knew

stiff bristle brush

buffs my skin

til its copper color

shines in the sun

something was different

rinse water sits

brown as swamp muck

around my feet

something was

step onto soft ground

rake fingers across scalp

wrong he thought

gather a pile of hair

toss it to the air

a gift for mice and birds

with me I told him

sit on the cedar stump

trim ragged fingernails

with the keen blade

I told him that

wild wind blows my hair

September sun dries my skin

it was over

Maria Wesserle