A Gratitude Stone – by Heidi Slettedahl

South Africa, February 2010

Simple words like legacy,
passion, commitment, love.
Things we say about ourselves
but might not always mean
writ large against a wall
in sparse cool language
embossed or etched in stone
              or blood.

I’ve told you things I haven’t said to family,
a legacy of doubt and fear.

How do we move from prisons
to talking about ourselves
and make it meaningful?

I offer you a prayer
or carry your camera
or ask for pictures of your son.

My only gift is reaching out.
The wisdom of the prison—
A gratitude stone.

Heidi_Slettedahl MacPhersonHeidi Slettedahl is an academic and a US-UK dual national who goes by a slightly different name professionally. She is hoping to live up to her potential now that she is over 50. She has been published in a variety of online literary journals.