Take Two

I’ve watched, incredulous,
this entire winter long
as the leaves on our neighbor’s tree
refused to drop.
As brave birds sing spring into being,
dry, orange, scraggly leaves
still cling to branches,
shivering in the cold.
Some might say,
“What strength!
What fortitude!
What refusal to give up!”
But, my question is this:
If the dead leaves haven’t
how will the new buds

Wise nature
turns my reflections inward
as I wonder
what dead leaves
do I grip so fiercely
that I deny the seasons,
deny time itself,
the ability to heal?
When will I let
my shriveled leaves
and nourish
new buds
to burst forth?

-Rachel Kramer Hibma

Rachel Kramer Hibma writes poetry about her experiences with chronic illness and small-town life. Her poetry has appeared in Lyrical Iowa, and she is a member of the Iowa Poetry Association. A freelance writer and editor, Rachel lives with her husband, Dane, in northwest Iowa.