Julia is losing clumps of hair. She wears a wig out in the world, but at home or on long walks the wig stays hidden on her vanity. Plunging into cool deep shade, her gray brown strands scatter under branches. Mulch thickens from years of leaves & rain. She settles into a drift of loss to contemplate chemotherapy. The air a chorus of cicadas, birdsong, the winged zzz of diving insects. One tree limb rubs against another. A warm breeze lifts damselflies, birds, oak leaves like shafts of light – cool downdrafts drop lower than shadow. Nothing is here, everything is here: spider silk & moss for nests, leaves for hatching swallowtail butterflies, the occasional cloud that darkens. Two birds circle. She watches them disappear into a thicket – her thin strands in their bills will line their nest, shape their home.
©2024 Judith Pacht

©2008 Katherine Williams