Sunlight – a poem by Laura Stamps

Sunlight


Prayers are like the stones 
carpeting the creek that flows
through the dark forest of depression, 
its chilly water leading out 
to a clearing, and then a grassy field, 
and then sunlight.  To leave this place, 
she needs to follow the creek stones, 
and she’s out.  Never to return.  That 
she can do.  But is she ready?  The beads 
on her rosary are like the stones in this 
creek.  Follow the stones to freedom.  
Follow the stones, and she’s out.  One 
stone, and then another, and then another.  
Follow the prayers.  One bead, one prayer, 
and then another, and then another.  
And she’s out.  She chants the prayers 
every night, fingers clicking: one bead, 
one prayer, one bead, one prayer.  That 
she can do. In the dark forest blue jays 
feast on birdsong from tree to tree, 
while the creek hums its rippling tune.  
Is she ready?  Never to return.  Yes, 
that she can do.  She climbs down 
from the tree of betrayal, abandonment, 
and abuse where she sleeps every 
night.  One bead, and then another, 
sliding between her fingers.  One prayer, 
and then another.  Her toes touch creek water.  
Cold.  Cold.  Keep going.  Keep moving 
forward.  Keep praying.  One bead, one 
prayer, and then another, and then another.  
That she can do.  A feast of birdsong 
tickles her ears.  One bead, one prayer.  
One stone, and then another, and 
then another.  Is she ready?  Yes, 
that she can do.  Never to return.  One 
stone, and then another, and then another.  
And so it goes.  Finally, she reaches the 
clearing.  And then the field.  Keep going.  
Keep praying.  And then the kiss of sunlight 
on the top of her head.  And then she’s out.  
Out in the light.  
She’s out.
Never to return.

Laura Stamps is a poet with several books, including IN THE GARDEN, THE YEAR OF THE CAT, and TUNING OUT. She is the recipient of seven Pushcart Prize nominations.  Currently, Laura is working on a new poetry chapbook about PTSD and healing. Find her every day at Twitter: @LauraStamps16.  

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