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Think of the time when

By Nita Penfold

you were truly yourself, that age

before the mask was pulled tight

before the roles were welded like armor to your skin.

Remember the one thing you loved

above all else, that, given perfect freedom,

you could be found doing

when they looked for you to do something else,

something useful; the thing that made

you feel whole and hopeful,

full of something that lifted you out of yourself

but anchored you home

so that you didn't know where that thing began, where you ended,

so much were you in the river of it, the flow

of hand to heart and heart to soul,

that was all of one piece called you.

You know what it is. Remember it.

Hold it up like a shiny vintage ornament

turn it to and fro.

It is the true gift

Just below your conscious thought, itching at you to touch it once more.

Latch onto that feeling,

let the stillness find you and the wholeness

bubble up from the bottom of your stone well.

What might you do with it now?

NITA PENFOLD will join poets Lyn Loubere and Nancy Rybczynski in an Earth's Daughter's Gray Hair Series reading at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday in Hallwalls Cinema, 341 Delaware Ave. (An East Aurora native and former Earth's Daughters co-editor who now lives in Massachusetts, she is the author of "They Stand Up in Broken Shells," winner of the 2006 Writer's Digest International Self-Published Book Award and two earlier chapbooks published by Pudding House Press. Her newest book, "Landing in Oz," will be published later this month.