Letting Go

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.

… the same moment the trees unloose
their soft arms from around you …

~Margaret Atwood, “The Moment”


The moment the trees unloose their soft arms around you,
you feel your leaves begin to relax the tiniest bit.

Their stems, which felt so solidly attached to your
once-strong arms, have acquired hinges that allow your

extremities to sway a bit more than usual, and as the days pass,
without your knowledge or permission, they fall, silently,

one by one by one, until you are standing, bare-limbed,
chilled, wondering what has come to pass. If you are lucky,

you may remember: This has happened before.
Last year, in fact, and the year before, the loosening,

the letting go. But every time you wonder: Is this
the final release? Every time you die a little,

as we all do each autumn, wishing it wasn’t so,
wishing we could stop the fall.

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