What Settles

Between fits of wind a heavy quiet insists.
It is dark. After dark in September silence

becomes presence. The shadows of leaves
twitch. Spooked, I glance sharply left –

movement. Cougar? September divides
into lists of things I know, things I don’t.

No beast in the bush, no pounce. Between
footstep and breath, remembered

Septembers slip, and I’m crunching yellow
leaves on the way to piano lessons again.

I want to learn how to hold the certainty
of death’s approach. Cold sifts fear from

fearlessness. What settles is heartbeat.
Ghosts bluster off in a hungry wind.

~ Juleta Severson-Baker

Juleta lives in her hometown of Calgary where she writes, teaches poetry and performance at the Mount Royal University Conservatory, works as a birth doula, and raises her two children. Her poetry has been previously published in All That Uneasy Spring (a Leaf Press chapbook, ed. Patrick Lane), the journals NoD and Freefall, and online at Verse Daily. In 2010 she won Freefall magazine’s 20th Anniversary Chapbook Contest with her collection A Hundred Pelts. Her first full-length manuscript, Incarnate, is being published by Frontenac House Press in Fall 2013.

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