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Elisabeth M. Priest

When my husband and I first moved to the Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania area eight years ago, we had no plans to settle here. But I've discovered that the heart sometimes puts down roots where we least expect it. While living here I've gotten my master's degree in theology, begun teaching church history, and most importantly of all, given birth to my daughter, now three years old. Through all of these experiences, reading and writing stories and poems has remained a happy constant in my life. Stories and poems are two of the most gracious ways that the Lord nourishes those heart roots.

To Craft

To craft a self takes courage.
And so, a sliver of a girl
in silver and white
twirls slowly
to the center of a stage,
topples into a soft heap
of white paper flakes,
tries elegantly,
to achieve the grace
of drifting snow.

To craft a self takes courage.
And so, a story.
"When you learned to walk,"
her mother told her,
"you wouldn't practice steps
while anyone else was in the room.
You were afraid they would see you fall."

It does take courage.
And suddenly six,
instructed to fall,
she hid behind a curtain,
afraid, rehearsing how she
would float
to the floor,
planning her unplanned movements.

To craft a self takes courage
born of forgetfulness.
And so, when morning came,
lost in the lights, in love
with the musical swish of her dress,
she achieved a fall more graceful
than any she has managed since.

Copyright ©2005 by Elisabeth M. Priest