When I loaded the tools
into the back of the car,
the shovels’ polished handles
and sharpened blades,
the rakes, splayed with caught branches,
spading forks, long and short-handled,
(yours was the long one),
I did not grieve.
Even at the unloading,
the receiver would have no idea
of the cords of wood split and stacked.
These were simply tools, mauls, axes, wedges,
not symbols of someone’s life.
I think about my grandfather, the blacksmith,
how, at the final sale and dispersal
by the executor and auctioneer,
no one there could fathom the finality of
the life, the skill, the personality
radiating from his tools.
I stand in the ford,
gravel quiet beneath my feet,
water surging around my shins.
Over the centuries
the river run has worn the rocks
smooth, removing imperfections,
softening edges, creating forms.
Just behind the larger boulders,
the water turns milky, then clear,
losing its pearlescence as it returns to itself.
Afternoon light sparkles brightly
as waters surge and ripple.
I cup my hands into this coursing source of life.
Even in my hollowed palms,
this brew of oxygen and hydrogen
retains its form,
languid, fluid, gleaming in the sun.
When I return this water to its source,
I cannot tell which was in my hands,
which was not.
Morgan Golladay has been intrigued with words all her life. Her poetry reflects this, and she uses both illusion and allusion in her writing. Much of her work focuses on her native Shenandoah Valley as well as coastal Delaware. She has worked with non-profits as a volunteer and staff member, and she has been a librarian, and a customer service and purchasing agent for a residential water-well company. Her watercolor and acrylic-collage fine paintings have won awards locally, and she is the President of the Mispillion Art League in Milford, DE, where she currently lives.