Last year’s beech leaves,
clinging ghostlike now
where tomorrow’s leaves bud,
waiting to unfurl,
reminding me somehow
of hand-me-down World Books,
once neatly lined on grandfather’s shelf,
faux-leather binding brimming
with yesterday’s meaning for words,
like the second-hand prayers
meant for our forefathers
and the scriptures that gloss over women—
their contributions, their names, their very existence—
to paint a man’s world for us all.
We’re supposed to learn the written words,
acquire the knowledge,
strive for perfection,
become more logical,
stick to the facts as told
with only one side in mind.
But my soul wants to
and beech leaves,
in all their glorious beauty,
give it all away.
As lovely as I find translucent
in early Spring’s chill-tinged breeze
and the nostalgia
of leafing through old encyclopedias,
I long for Mother Earth’s wisdom,
the understanding hidden within
the trees they cut down
to make those shiny-edged pages.
I need the knowing that emerges
from standing under new leaves
while they are soaking in sunlight,
to create new growth.
I want to give them my exhalation
and drink in theirs until
take root in
and ancient truths, renewed.
I’ve fought to wrestle my life from the grip
of lies and outdated half-truths
that make me less made in God’s Image
for having two X chromosomes
and fought equally hard to
find full truths
and I am weary,
wearing thin and papery,
tired of clinging and
unsure if I believe in resurrection,
to know what happens
when I give up fighting—
for or against—
and just let go.