We knelt in pools of mottled light
deep within the Norway pine.
A hallowed hymn rushed through their height;
about our ears mosquitoes whined.
Her sun hat tipped, her chin inclined—
she seemed to hear a voice not there.
And every time I fell behind
each trunk concealed a mother bear.
Then cancer took her strength and hair;
it felled her—withered, sick, and frail.
It’s now been years since I’ve been there
my task to fill an ice cream pail.
But in my heart, touched by so few,
live wind-swept pines and skies of blue.
Gina Marie Bernard
Gina Marie Bernard is a heavily tattooed transgender woman, retired roller derby vixen, and full-time English teacher. She lives in Bemidji, Minnesota. Her daughters, Maddie and Parker, own her heart. Her chapbook Naked, Getting Nuder was published by Clare Songbirds in January 2019. Her chapbook I Am This Girl was published by Headmistress Press in October 2018. Her work has recently been nominated for Best of the Net, Best Small Fictions, and the Pushcart Prize.