I try not to reach out and touch you,
When I walk upon these fields,
But the fact that I’m here at all is invitation for you to extend your hands
And brush them through my soul.
What is it that you’d like me to feel in your gentle stroke?
I cannot name that sensation trailing through my heart,
Although I’ve tried my best,
To knock it down with reason,
Stuffing a bookshelf full of facts,
So that I might know your situation.
You were sick.
Tired, no,
Exhausted here
And thirsty.
Your eyes burned red and ran.
Your guts ached and ran, as well,
Brimming you with nausea and draining you of passion.
Yet, I’m reminded of the great things, too, that you accomplished here.
The superhuman deeds fueled by hate, resolve, and anger,
Or was it desperation?
Please, don’t answer.
Please, don’t clear the smoke.
I try not to reach out and touch you, you boys of Gettysburg, but you slide your fingers through my soul,
And leave a lonely ache
That, unbidden, always comes.

Linda Gribko is an avid gardener, naturalist, author, artist, and photographer living just outside Morgantown, West Virginia, on a one-acre property she calls Yellow Bird's Rest. She's been gardening since the age of three, when she was put to work plucking rocks from the family vegetable patch, and was gifted her first growlight set-up at the age of eight. Linda is best known for her wildflower photography and the digital mandala art she creates from her nature photos, but is also a mixed media artist and published author. Her quirky first novel, "Giving Voice to Dawn", was published in November 2016 and was followed up with "The Lion's Apprentice" in June 2020. The series follows the magical romp of a woman plucked by the Universe from the cubicles of Corporate America and dropped into the crease between "this world and that" where Spirit Animals carry messages, disembodied voices spout wisdom, and you never know who might show up to walk you back home.

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