Originally published in Willow Springs 81

From the author

Notes on “Nature”

Let’s see… I spent some time in the Opal Creek Wilderness (in Oregon, where I live). It was late September. I’d walk, write, walk, write. This poem is what came of that.

The dying times are hard, or perhaps I mean the times when we acknowledge death are hard (because aren’t we dying all the time?). When fall starts coming on I get so pissed off. I’m not sure I trust art that isn’t mad (even if that means angry at the insistency of love, there’s got to be an urgency there).

Music, Food, Booze, Tattoos, Kittens, etc.

I’m not sure what I want to say about this tattoo, other than the fact that I get a lot of power from it. It feels like a portal to an important part of my story that I can’t necessarily speak in language. I didn’t start getting tattoos until the last ten years or so because, frankly, I wasn’t free enough to do so.  Life is a process of getting free. I also want to acknowledge the practice as borrowed from many cultures so there’s that aspect to it too.  How do we (/ I, as a so-called white person) share in tradition without appropriating it.  How do we participate while honoring and centering those traditions we are choosing to be a part of.  These are questions that are primary for me.


I’ve been eating a lot of blueberries. Even into winter.  And cilantro.

About Emily Kendal Frey

Emily Kendal Frey is the author of The Grief Performance and Sorrow Arrow.  She lives in Portland, Oregon, where she is a practicing therapist.