Looking to the Desert Mothers – by Haylee Schwenk

                                      Amma Susan stayed in her cave three years.
                                       No one
                                                   could pull her out.
                                                   (We battle our demons alone.)

No restaurant dinners, no galas, no fêtes,
             I see you—
             I greet you.)

                                       The desert mothers foresaw the end times
                                                                                       lived    alone
                                                   prayer and self-flagellation,
                                                   speaking to others through walls,

In my bath
                                                   I float
            (no matter the uncooked dinner;
            no matter the barking dogs
in the yards of neighbors I haven’t met)

                                    Desert mothers faced the devil
                                     in darkness
                                                or not alone,
                                                still      alone.

The water is warm:
                                                I hover
            (no matter the footsteps on the sidewalk,
            the unread book, empty bottle of wine;
            no matter gunshots just out of hearing)

        I am           (alone).

Haylee Schwenk

Photo by Maria Perme

Haylee Schwenk has recently become acutely aware of how much love surrounds her. She practices poetry as one way to acknowledge and contribute to the beauty in the world and is grateful for many generous writers who offer community and counsel. Her work has been published in Great Lakes Review, Q/A, Sheila-Na-Gig, and Pudding Magazine.