This is the result of a writing exercise I’m doing with a couple of friends. Each of us offers a word, and then each of us makes a piece of writing using those words.
latitude embroidery coil
How, you ask me, do I live?
I have come so far, so very far
from the earths that shaped my bones,
the people who gave me blood and breath.
I make my choices, hold my connections.
I wash my long gray hair in rainwater
I catch in a bowl in my garden.
I dry my hair in the sunshine,
brushing it in the warmth
and light, the way Matka taught,
the way my sisters do
in my home place, in my latitude
of memory. I plait a four-strand braid,
coil it around my head. One by one,
in ritual, I lift the bone hairpins
from the linen pouch Babcia gave me
as she gave to each granddaughter.
I think of her, remember her
working the red embroidery,
the five-petaled flowers,the long-tailed birds.