Find a quiet place to hide your secrets, some body
of water, not the ocean or the Yuba River
—too hurried, too hectic, too indifferent—
a country creek to wade into
on a late-summer morning with gnats swarming,
dragonflies flitting & pausing in the speckled light,
a droopy yellow moth perching on a stump.
Tell your secrets to the moth, the sweet ones
& the shameful ones—in the grand or even
modest scheme of things not terribly shameful,
considering the truly terrible things we do
to one another, to animals, to quiet places like this
—just human frailties you share with others
who may be right now telling their own secrets
to other moths alongside other creeks.
Let the gnats & dragonflies pick apart your words,
carry them off in pieces, or let the waters wash
them away. Even so, you know when you traipse
down the path again to leave new secrets
or revise the old ones, they’ll still be there
but bleached out, washed clean, sweeter even,
less shameful. Walking away you, too,
are sweeter, cleaner, maybe wearing
the smile you lost just last Tuesday
About the Poet: Judy Brackett's stories and poems have appeared or are forthcoming in Tule Review, The Innisfree Poetry Journal, Canary, Squaw Valley Review, About Place, THEODATE, The Waterhouse Review, Sierra Songs & Descants (Hip Pocket Press), and The Untidy Season: An Anthology of Nebraska Women Poets (Backwaters Press), and elsewhere.
She has taught creative writing and English literature and composition at Sierra College. Born in Nebraska, she has lived in California’s northern Sierra Nevada foothills for many years.