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Contents Page: April 1, 2011, vol 7 no 1

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Penny Harter



. . . anchor: a hooked iron implement that sticks into the bed of a sea or river and thus holds a ship in position; (fig) anything that gives stability or security

. . . anchorite: one who retreats into solitude, usually for religious reasons

Trees hook their roots deep into the Earth, until the storm. The clouds that fast escape the frame of my window, anchor in the caul of our atmosphere. And the weeds swaying outside my studio gripped the dirt with stubborn roots while the wind emptied their brown seed husks. Now, they filter the sky and feed on winter sun.

transplanting the lilacs
from grandmother's garden—
my mother's hands

Trees, clouds, weeds—these anchor me this morning, though I am no anchorite. I have lived alone these months since my husband died. I came here for solitude in community, hoping to fly on the wind of whatever words find me. I often thought that when I grew older, if widowed, I'd retreat to a monastery somewhere, become a nun like those I saw at the Zendo in the Catskills, scarves shielding their bald heads as they dug in the garden or peeled potatoes, each potato an anchor.

after surgery
grateful for the diagnosis—
no chemotherapy

Whom have I anchored? Whose arms have I invited to wrap around my waist, whose eyes to hook into mine? These January mornings, my bones ache in the cold, and were they not salt, occasional tears would freeze on my cheeks. Some nights, I would anchor in someone again, let him pull me down into warmth and fire, believing that would hold us both against the shifting bed—for a little while.

remembering his mouth
on my breast—the wind
of our quickening breath


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