Looking at Hestia


Look at this picture, where homecoming
wraps around her like a porch.

You and I come and go, but she stays home
and we never know how

she learns to speak in the tongues
of ancient animals, find sailors in the dark,

plant totems for children to dig up,
wash the souls of men.


And here, when you turn the page,
she's singing with outstretched arms to something
or someone we can’t see.

Her circle widens, drapes the day.
She builds her own hearth, and welcomes
whomever she wants.


Right here in this picture, her gaze falls
to the shadows outside her circle. There are creatures

like us there. It’s a scene like a shepherd
watching over a flock, a mother by the edge

of a lake, keeping everyone
In sight. No one goes missing.


At night, she fans the flame, the duende
living in all of us, even though we sleep.

Burn marks on her arms, lungs full
of smoke, holding the storied night.

Hestia floats the stars from here,
tells of countries where you can

carry your own fire
and settle. It never goes out.

Sally Gradle writes about the creative influx of ideas in our lives, whether from mythical or real encounters. She is an artist and an art educator, and has published a bit. See more at www.sallygradle.net.