Green leaf plant on brown wooden stump

There are unclaimed promises
within each moment you find awe;

a contract that has been agreed upon
with each striking sight.

You become indebted.
Choose to keep it sacred, silent

to yourself or share
through actions, words.

You owe yourself this caught breath,
this serene freedom of the occasion.

The arteries of the Clematis writhe
brown against green leaves prior

to the purple blooms. Follow
each vein until it gets lost

into the others, until a round of robins
aerating the soil distracts you

changes your lens. Let your
hand take in the missing warmth

of a stump, all the rings that
no longer tell their story to you.

Let yourself question
if you might be a ring or

the whole trunk. What
are your rings then?

You have obligations
to answer these questions.

There are rocks to find that
need to talk to you.

There are views you need
to share, laughs you ought

to spread, words that need
spilling. Promise this world

your voice. Some may crave it.
Some may be needing it.

-Poem by Rebecca Smolen


Rebecca is a writer based in Portland, OR transplanted from NH in 2014 and is a mom of two adorable little gingers. She grew up on a dead-end road exploring drainage pipes and pond life and has a degree in creative writing and philosophy. She has a strong feminist voice that sometimes gets trapped within society’s confines, but vows to teach her son and daughter that there are no confines. Rebecca has been trained and is certified to lead writing classes in the Gateless Method. This method was scientifically created to avoid provoking the fight or flight reaction generating a safe place to produce raw, new writing that will spotlight the strongest talents of that material. You can find her first chapbook, Womanhood and Other Scars as well as most recently in Cirque, Allegory Ridge, Feminine Collective, Inflectionist Review, Unchaste Anthology, Hip Mama, Mutha Magazine, VoiceCatcher, Poeming Pigeon, the anti-fascist anthology, Shout and her full-length manuscript, Excoriation forthcoming from PoetryBox.