Ellis Elliott

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You have to cross the Little Doe to get there
nestled between Wildcat Valley and Wallings Ridge
to the broad cedar walls   where the children scatter

like marbles when Spring shakes her shaggy head
awake   black bears with brown snouts rouse rooting
young saplings    Sis skips ahead of the little ones

gathers them like acorns in her apron   holds tight
the baby    Daniel says he is going   again  
as Martha secures the stitches   binding her

to him   French knots of sorrow and scripture
He unrolls her shawl round her shoulders   follows
the needle’s rhythm with his breath   his leaving as sure

as her fingers   she calls for Sis to send them
away to wash   drops her chin to her chest   it best
they not see   what had thawed set to ice again
threads unraveling in her breast
 

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