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Waterfall in Winter

because we’d walked
  all that way to visit
    the waterfall kindly
      came home with us
        whole and trembling
          inside our bodies

oh transparent lip
  of anticipation and
    awful ache of gravity
      oh radiant plunge
        to foam and tumble
          the river’s long laughter

some afterfalls some
  quaking smaller pools
    then sweet sad singing
      shallow over pebbles
        plush silence of moss
          deep grove of dreaming

out in the darkness
  in the welling fog
    the deer lay down
      the trees forgot us
        the careless waterfall
          never stopped laughing

Published in Passager, Spring 2001

All poems © Colleen Anderson

More Poems by Colleen Anderson

Transplanting Ferns

For over twenty years we have been friends
and enemies and friends again. We four
have coupled and uncoupled, now, in more
configurations than the various fronds
on all these different types of ferns. My hands,
crumbling clods and sifting earth to pour
around the knotted roots, have met with your
hands, and in such diversity of bonds,
they cannot be uncoiled in memory,
but spread beneath our lives, a raveled skein
of joy and sorrow, each of us aware
of something growing that we cannot see.
Our talk is comfortable. It looks like rain.”
“That would be good.” This is a kind of prayer.

Published in the WPFW 89.3 Poetry Anthology, 1992


So Dorothy sent us off to Dolly Sods
with a plastic pint container and a lid
and promises of huckleberry muffins
in the morning. We found them where she’d said
we would, in a high and quiet place of spruce
and laurel, bushes as crowded with berries

as a country night with stars. So small. So blue.
Bluer than Prussian, bluer than indigo, bluer than
anything, color that looks right back at you
with the eyes of a long-forgotten, favorite doll.
Tiny as buttons on a doll’s dress. So small,
and our fingers grown so clumsy, so fat, so adult.

Picture two middle-aged women, bent over, sweating,
plucking and talking, inhaling spruce and sky.
We grew up together, Julie. You remember
my birthday party the year we both were seven.
Your father used to keep track of us, you told me,
by listening to us, giggling, across the lake.

We didn’t even pick a pint of berries,
and of course we stayed too long. The afternoon
went dim. We strayed into a boggy thicket
and lost our way, and blundered in the mud,
and then, like something out of a storybook
with a happy ending, found the path again.

Picture two middle-aged women, hugging and laughing,
telling each other we weren’t really scared.
We ran straight down the mountain, ran all the way,
huckleberries bouncing in my backpack,
and leapt from rock to rock across Red Creek,
huckleberries jumping up and down for joy.

Published in the Wild Sweet Notes: Fifty Years of West Virginia Poetry, 2000

To see more writing samples, or for information about writing workshops, please contact:

Colleen Anderson
Mother Wit Writing and Design
P.O. Box 525
Charleston, WV 25322

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