“Counting and What’s Counted On” by Robyn Hunt
“Nothing thicker than a knife’s blade separates happiness from melancholy.”
(Virginia Woolf, Orlando)
I know for sure: 1 I am married. 2 I own a home. 3 I write poetry – creating metaphor
where others claim they cannot. 4 I have a daughter; she lives elsewhere now. 5 My
grandmothers, both storytellers, lived well into their nineties, and in one case, to be 104.
6 I can give myself permission to do and be all things. 7 My hair is turning grey. 8 My
sense of direction is reliable. 9 My upbringing included prayers and hymns, neither of
which I can recite entirely now from memory but recognize at times when others arrive,
singing. 10 There is more inside of me that desires to be written. 11 I am capable of
juggling many things. 12 I don’t always trust others. 13 My writing life was once torrid.
14 I love shades of pine or fern, turquoise or cyan, resembling the wave of the earth
around me. 15 My daughter is learning so many things as an adult. 16 My husband gets
irritated but we sort it out. 17 I am more often doing what others are not. 18 This latter is
both exhausting and exhilarating 19 I can dance.
Not so sure about: 1 How to respond at times. 2 How to be silent. 3 The botanical names of
so many trees. 4 How safe the water at the edge of the sea. 5 My memories. 6 If I were
to color the shape of rain falling, would it be indigo? 7 Would you see its inky cloaks
with me, such streaks? 8 Capturing the entire sensation. 9 How to sweeten
the bitter/how to let the bitter remain. 10 Breaking the chain of more of the same.
11 History of continental invasions, and the politics of men. 12 Whether I can shift to
another place, rooted in this high desert that I long for when away. 13 Direction back to
the beginning where I swayed without limitation. 14 Sustaining confidence. 15 Scaling the
wall and dropping. 16 If I can swim back, quickly. 17 How to tell my grandmothers’
stories, evasive hummingbirds against the backdrop of piñon trees, for my daughter to
truly witness them. 18 Handling the switchbacks up the pink mesa at this altitude (slowly
and with intention). 19 Reaching the water in time. 20 Whether the waves will flood my
home if I open the windows wide;
Know for sure: 20 The waves will flood my home; I will open the windows wide.
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Robyn Hunt Artist Statement:
Robyn Hunt is grateful for her Southwestern lineage of academicians and confident
women who sang in the choir. It is here that she learned to argue and to praise. Her all-
time favorite employment was with a print and design collective in Oakland, California,
learning the intricacies of machinery and laboring long hours, to assure that the books
and broadsides’ text were black and straight and bound with enough glue to give them
long life. Today she works as Development and Communications Director for Las
Cumbres Community Services in Santa Fe where she lives with her novelist husband. Her
work appears in various journals. Her debut collection of poems, The Shape of Caught
Water, is available through Red Mountain Press (www.redmountainpress.us). Her work is
also visible on her blog, As Mourning Doves Persist mourningdovespersist.blogspot.com.
She attended AROHO Waves Retreat at Ghost Ranch in the summer of 2015.