At 60

Jan Haag teaches journalism and creative writing at Sacramento City College where she is the chair of the journalism department and advises student publications. She is the author of Companion Spirit, a collection of poems about her husband’s death at the age of 48, published by Amherst Writers & Artists Press. She leads writing groups in Sacramento where the topic of grief and loss often arises. Read more of her beautiful writing here.

Ashland Creek, Oregon

I am no longer all bones and angles.
My sharp points have been sanded smooth,
gently curved into a softer version
of my former self.

If I am heavier than I have ever been,
I am at the same time lighter,
and, as Rumi wrote, I can feel
the wings I have grown, lifting,

as my feet find a trail by a creek
I first walked four decades ago.

It is June and green
and the water that was once
mountain snow rushes next to me
on its way to a destination it can’t know.
In a couple of months the creek
will be nearly dry, but then the season
will change, the leaves will fall,
and the cold will come.

It has been ever thus.

I smile at two young people
coming toward me — one bearded,
the other vigorously swinging her arms.
Time backflips, and there we are,
walking up this path, on our way
to a place we cannot see,
having no idea what is coming at us,
what will weigh us down and what
we must let go, knowing only
that we will face it together
as long as time allows.

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