Reclamation by Julie Pratt


After years of neglect, I resurrected my garden,
digging out overgrown bushes, bringing light
to the shadows, so the peonies once again
greet me in spring with ruby blossoms.

I love watching what I imagined taking form,
surprising me as it does. Look – the cascade
of white petunias in dappled light as
the sun slips behind leaves of tall trees.

It’s an existential thing, a friend said this morning
about the discontent that consumes him,
pulling him into a dark ravine of the mind.
I know this place, too, of being trapped there

until I feel something in me shift, nearly
imperceptible, but enough to trust that I can
slash and crawl my way through almost any thicket
to a place where I stand and remember

powerlessness is the seed of liberation,
freeing me from what I want so I can recognize
what is true, a radical neutrality that
allows clarity and peace to return.


Julie Pratt lives in Charleston, West Virginia, where she worked for many years as a writer and facilitator for non-profit organizations. The author of several award-winning poems, her poetry has appeared in ONE ART, Passager, Persimmon Tree, and other venues. She grew up in Wisconsin, where she earned a master’s degree in social work from UW-Madison. Later in life, she received an MFA in creative writing from the University of Southern Maine. Her writing is inspired by nature and by people who are working to change themselves and the world for the better.