After Shedding The Brace

after shedding the brace

…there are characters, both human and animal, whose assistance can be earned or spurned; and there is — over and over again — the journey or quest, which leads first to knowledge…

Sarah Maitland


I found a piece of the forest

in Walmart’s parking lot

where the winter tree

dangled its few


amber leaves — and sleek birds

flitted among branches

scented with moss stain

and peeling bark. Their beaks fine

as the nibs of a fountain pen,


their plumage black

as India ink. And for that, I prayed

let their bodies become


the concentrated ink

of flight — with some, just some

of it falling between

my fingers in wisps. A subtle way


of telling my hand

how to write hope —

( that long-awaited poem)


and rub know-how

into my ignorant knee.

The bone healed enough

to lift and follow the left.


Step paired with step,

the sudden, beautiful launch

into wings.





  1. Dear Wendy,

    Free from the brace? Surely that does feel like new wings.
    I love this poem. It shows the tyranny of bondages (even necessary ones)
    and the exuberance of freedom from them.

    I pray that you are pain free, and experiencing:

    “the sudden, beautiful launch

    into wings.”

    Beautiful writing, beautiful healing…Brava to you!



  2. Dear Francina

    Thank you so much for reading and commenting on this poem; I deeply appreciate your kind thoughts and am glad you enjoyed reading it!

    Dear Sarah

    Yes, I shed the brace this past Monday and am learning to walk again with determination and practice. It is a good feeling to be free of the thing that confined me but also offered necessary support. I am so glad you enjoyed the poem and so deeply appreciate your prayers, encouragement and concern. It means so much to me and brightens my day.

    My best to you both
    take care


  3. Wendy, I, not knowing, but you told me. These words crafted from the piece of forest you found and the movement and blackness of birds:

    … “subtle way of telling my hand

    how to write hope —

    ( that long-awaited poem)

    and rub know-how

    into my ignorant knee.”

    Your writing amazes me. You find an image and then express its other meaning as only a poet can. I hope you are flying soon.


  4. Dear Wendy,

    I hope this day is offering less pain for you. Your poem is amazing. In fact, your writing takes a reader into multiple levels of thought as your selected image always draws us in with curiosity. It’s like we’re moving rung by rung up the ladder into your creative style of fashioning your words. Take care.



  5. Enjoyed the poem immensely Wendy and am so pleased to read that you are now free of your brace.

    I pray for continued healing and strengthening.

    Best regards,



  6. Dear Ptc. Jan, and Maryse

    I am so very touched by your kind words and well wishes. They really do brighten my day and I am so grateful for your prayers and concern. And yes, it is so good to be free of the brace and working on making the stiff knee flexible once again. A month left of PT but that is really necessary in making the leg, strong, stable and healthy. I am walking slow but walking and mostly with little pain. And I also am so glad you enjoyed the poem. That means a great deal to me.

    Please take care and God Bless all of you!
    Many thanks


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