Crone by C.G. Dahlin

old woman

She came to me in the end of night 

wearing the stems and leaves of a sword fern, 

adorned in cockle shells, her hair sprinkling black sands, 

her eyes like moons, her hands swaying and caressing  

like the rolling mounds past dry gulch. 

She came to me after as the birds started singing,  

when the winds took a gasp, 

when I thought the dreams would finally come. 

She smelt of pine and morning dew, 

her nails twisted thistles 

her voice unused,  

yet somehow I knew it  

as poised and graceful. 

She held me 

as if she were swooning her child, 

and put me down onto the waking ground, 

softly pushing me in, the soil yawning, 

the grass engulfed me, swaddling me into its womb. 

I was among the tombs where dead men lay, 

amidst the worms, vermin, and fungi brethren. 

She sang to me there, I knew it was her voice 

though I’d thought I’d never heard it. 

The womb started to jostle, constricting the space as I grew smaller within it. 

Smaller and smaller and smaller yet until I was a speck of black sand 

that sat placid for an immeasurable while.  

I panicked not, because she still sang to me. 

Somehow I started to bubble, froth, and congeal. 

My portions became amorphous, my dimensions wavering. 

I remember thinking, “It’s painful to become.” 

From here I became a seed, I was ripped up, 

thrown through spectral vision, coming to in a rhythmic wind, 

careening deep into steaming soil. 

Waters showered down to me, 

quenching and stretching and flexing my ends. 

I ruptured from within,  

broke the same ground I entered,  

the sweet light meeting my face, 

its rays, its mystic splendor. 

In its beauty I grew,  

I grew to meet it,  

I grew to better know it, 

I became enduring and immaculate,  

my brothers and sisters,  

side by side alongside me. 

We reached out further,  

felt the wind’s sigh of relief. 

We reveled in the realization 

that we had joined as notes  

to the Mother’s song. 

About the Author

C.G. Dahlin was the first designated Poet Laureate of the University of Wisconsin–Stouts Honors College. In Central Washington, Dahlin spearheaded two volumes of the regional anthology The Whispers of Wenatchee. He now attends Eastern Washington University for an MFA in Creative Writing and is the Managing Editor for the practicum program, Writers in the Community.

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