Trying to Return by Sandy Gillespie


“Trying to Return” by Sandy Gillespie


The ledge is deep enough
to sit on, wide enough
for one. Damp ground,
soft with layered leaves, is chill
beneath me. A wood stove
somewhere near breathes birch
into the midnight sky — false
sense of warmth. A full moon hangs
cold light from heaven,
a blaze of white to mark
the river’s passing. I remember
April’s jumbled crush of ice —
the push of water
trying to return to something
greater than itself.
Foxes criss-crossed at will.
I imagine being stranded,
carried into realms past
light, my feet on melting ground.



Share your response to this work, in any form, here


Sandy Gillespie’s Artist Statement: 

I am 66.
• At 41, I moved alone from San Diego, California, to Fairbanks, Alaska, to get
my MFA in poetry.
• I learned to backpack. To listen hard for moose and bear. To dress for -­‐35 and
watch, at midnight, for the northern lights.
• I worked with Tuma Theater, a half Alaska native / half non-­‐native theater
group that used Alaska native movement and drumming to tell stories.
• I built a dry cabin. Hauled water in five-­‐gallon jugs. “Showered” in my hand-­‐
built sauna.
• I taught English, theater, writing.
• I ran the visual arts department of a month-­‐long summer fine arts camp.
• I was visual and literary arts program director for the Fairbanks Arts
Association, then for the Alaska State Council on the Arts.
• I came out as a lesbian.
• I had solo exhibits across the state, including at the Anchorage Museum and
the State Museum in Juneau.
• I came to Minnesota often to be with my grown kids.
• I became a “gran” & moved to Minneapolis.
• I became a Buddhist.




Author: A Room of Her Own

Share This Post On