a momentary respite…

Today: a second creek poem.



Old Miz Milam

Milam Creek 1965

At the age when dreams and life are one,
I played in the stream they call Milam Creek
and thought it mine. But it was named
for her.

She was ancient, a feral crone.

She wore a farm wife’s apron and bonnet
and boots as hard as iron.
She had outlived her time and her kin
(and her senses).

She lived in a broken-down hut beyond the fields
and roamed the woods alone.

She carried a long stick with her
since the sheriff took her shotgun away.
She stormed onto the property
and onto neighboring farms
smashing headlights of old trucks while
raving of Russian missile doom
(and seeking little children to eat) 

…The Baba Yaga of Warren County.

As a tiny girl I sat in the shallow current
of the creek that carries her name.
Black velvety tadpoles tickled my toes
and rocks whispered in the water.

A stillness fell.
She was there,
striding across the creek —
the current fled from her steps.
Pale eyes glared at me.

O spirit of water! Where is my breath?
Spirit of stone, where my heartbeat?

The Baba Yaga of Warren County —
–nodded to me.

“Hello there, sweetie.”

The Baba Yaga of Warren County —
–strode on.

Heart and breath
rushed back to their places.
The current resumed its run.

O blessed grace that kept me safe!
Whether of angels or water or rock
or winking sunbeams that conspired with the ripples
to bend both light and time,

that the most angry and untamed of crones
might see this tiny girl
as a simple reflection of that tiny girl
she’d once been, in this very creek

a lost lifetime ago.

m.c. chambers

Text and images from the unpublished manuscript “52 Scribbles”,copyright 2017 by M.C. Chambers. All rights reserved.

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