This poem dates back to my sophomore year in college. I don’t remember (fully) what inspired it, but every few years I suddenly think to pull it out, and it speaks to me in a new way.

I’ve come to believe that our compositions can be the medium of personal revelation — that items we write in our journal, in our e-mails, on our blogs can return to us later in life, like love letters from our past.

I rarely share my poetry with others, but in dark and confusing times I have had lines from my own hand drift back to me. And beyond the comfort or insight the words might provide, these experiences leave me feeling . . . . known.


The Fall


Forget I am good and have always
wanted to be good
and still do.


There’s this legend in my mountain
of an Indian Maiden (with a 20 inch waist)
who dances off the summit
to feed the mountain God
and make her people right with him.
We know she was good and
I have tried to trace
her bosom’s cragged silhouette.
Anyone can see her from my mother’s porch.


My brother told me another story
of a woman who wakes at 3 am
to watch beavers in the canyon.
I’ve heard she knows what
goodness looks like, like
the architecture of the wind, I hear.
She goes alone. I do not know
her people or her shape.


I take to the Charles River alone
at 3 am and from the fourth floor I could
dance right down to the highway below.

And would I
if it would right
God to my people or my people to God

or if I’d be remembered
as good in a 20 inch waist

or if
as I fell
I saw the wind?


Deborah is K-12 educator who nurtures a healthy interest in reading, writing, running, ethics, mystics, and interfaith dialogue.

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  1. Caroline says:

    Deborah, this is great. Thanks for posting this. I love your last stanza!

    There was one part I’d like to know a bit more about. It’s the verse about the Charles River. I wonder where that is…

  2. Deborah says:

    The Charles River is in Boston. My sophomore year dorm room looked out over the river. It was gorgeous, but a major roadway (Storrow Drive) separated our street of turn-of-the-century brownstones from the river. Rather incongrous triple parallel of nature, noise, and architecture.

  3. Brooke says:

    Deborah, I really love this poem. Thanks for sharing!

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