Tina Hacker


A sycamore leaf. One leaf. But large
as a dinner plate, falls
right at my feet in early October 
before the wetlands trail 
turns into wallpaper patterns
of locust, oak, maple. 
I stop, pick it up. This is new to me 
or seems new after weeks in lockdown.

Swarms of marsh cattails line the route.
Their tall slender stakes sway 
at the whims of autumn winds,
eclipsing smaller scrambles of prairie grass.
Algae spreads over a pond like a ‘50s 
poodle skirt, wide swaths of green, smooth as felt
with a blue heron replacing the iconic symbol.

Walking through a tunnel, I am pressed 
into a crouch when a train passes overhead. 
Fun! I decide to wait for another train
then stroll until late afternoon shadows remind me
of the dark time I am traveling through.
But for a couple of hours on this lowland journey,
nothing more dangerous than a leaf.

Tina Hacker is happy to announce that Kelsay Books will be publishing her collection of poems, GOLEMS, in July 2021. The poems are based on the golem character from Jewish folklore who has helped mankind through the ages. Each golem is conjured from the earth to complete a task. Then, after doing this, the golem disappears, returning to the earth or transported to another place. Tina has authored two previous collections of poetry: Listening to Night Whistles published by Aldrich Press and Cutting it, by The Lives You Touch Publications. She has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize four times.