I yank tangled vines from a hundred years of Douglas fir soil, knee-deep in ivy that will cinch an untended tree in a noose, excrete a glue laced with steel. When a root surrenders, I careen backwards into needled loam, more humus than human, a fragment of the understory. Half my life I’ve kept this tree from the chainsaw’s snarl, accepted that any blustery night could mean death for the both of us, my bed squarely in the blowdown path. I’d curse my persistence in a final breath.
T. Clear was born the sixth of seven children, into a noisy, crowded and loving household, in a house bumped up against Pacific Northwest second-growth woodlands, open fields and orchards. Her earliest memories are of wandering among Douglas firs and alders, her legs skirted in bracken ferns, ever-wary of stinging nettles. She and her five sisters harvested hazelnuts and apples, blackberries and rhubarb, the promise of pie luring them back into the kitchen where all nine family members gathered each evening for supper. It was a gentle life and provided the landscape from which her writing has grown.
After many years working in glass art, she now works in Human Relations for Seattle Cider Company.
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Bruises. Irises. Mountains distant. Iridescent crows. Purple jasper, purple jade, lilac blooms. Plums, evening shadows. Purple petunias. The primrose. Prince singing Purple Rain. To Kandinsky, violet was sad, a cooled red. So, a mood can be purple. Me? I say bliss is orange, sorrow, indigo..
Priscilla Long is a Seattle based poet, writer, editor, and a longtime independent teacher of writing. She is the 2020 Sally Albiso Poetry Book Award winner for Holy Magic, selected by Carmen Germain.
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