The little girl in a red shirt
led me straight to her Thicket,
stood outside its shrouded door,
invited me in.

Cracking my head
on a low-hanging branch
I crimped my long body,
crept through the maze.

Hands on hips she surveyed
her kingdom—three small rooms
pruned from the privet tangle
around an old oak stump.

On a quilt, a tooth-marked cookie,
half-dressed doll, turned-over truck.
On the stump a cat in camouflage.
On a snag a beaded purse.

Urged to sit, I folded my legs,
aware I might never be able to rise,
and solemnly sipped warm water from the single cup.
She sipped some water, too.

When the time came to take my leave
I crawled, hands and knees, into the garden.
Looked for a wall, hauled myself to my feet
to the sound of a young queen, singing.

About the Author: Patricia Wellingham-Jones

Patricia Wellingham-JonesPatricia Wellingham-Jones grew up in a small New Jersey town and has lived, by choice, in little places much of her life. For the past few decades it’s been beside a creek in northern California. She is a widely published retired RN, former psychology researcher and writer/editor. She has a special interest in healing writing, with poems recently in The Widow’s Handbook (Kent State University Press). Chapbooks include Don’t Turn Away: poems about breast cancer, End-Cycle: poems about caregiving, Apple Blossoms at Eye Level, Voices on the Land and Hormone Stew.