Photo & Poem: Girl-Cousin

Seems every farm family had one in a generation;
a distant misfit girl-cousin who read too much or
wore men’s jeans or hated to cook. As soon as she
could, she traveled away to Portland to work in a

library or to Tucson to be an artist. The family only
whispered her name then, kitchen gossip that nothing
was good enough for her. That she stopped going to
church. That she never had kids and probably couldn’t.

They said she fell off the face of the earth, as if it was
a fatal misstep but she just took herself out of bounds
from their small flat place, bringing only what could
not be escaped. Moving from one landing restless to

the next, until she found rest where the soil under her
feet felt welcoming at midnight and she could write
her own rules with black chalk on a night sky. Not
afraid of stillness, never once orphaned from the land.

Anna Blake at Infinity Farm

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Anna Blake

44 thoughts on “Photo & Poem: Girl-Cousin”

  1. Lovely poem Anna…so appropriately relatable. I love your writings…you are such an amazing wordsmith.
    Just finishing Stable Relation. Another jewel in your crown.
    Enjoy your holidays♥️

    Reply
  2. How lovely! In our British family the misfit cousin was the one out of a dozen of us who stayed in place. Although some returned to the soil of our ancestors, most are still spread all over the globe, and fifty years ago I found my “resting place” in the Green Mountains of Vermont.

    Reply
  3. Yes! So much of this rings true.

    I am the reader, the animal lover, who babysat hours and hours to pay for riding lessons even though I never enjoyed or wanted kids. The one who never planned a wedding as all my girlfriends did because I never met a guy who understood my desires to have a farm with horses, dogs, cats and chickens instead of a house in the suburbs and kids.

    The one who as a young teen had to come in from a day or weekend at the farm to the back door and go straight down the basement to shower and put her “stinky” clothes straight in the washer before offending the family.

    The one who can’t remember ever NOT dreaming of having her own farm.

    The only one who early on had the goal to make good grades to earn scholarships to “go away” to college. Who worked insane hours after getting her degree pretty much solely in order to buy and board her first horse, the equine love of my life at 22 – and never looked back.

    Who had a really intense 39th year both *finally* buying her first farm AND meeting a guy while not looking – who was the odd one in his family too.

    Now years later I’m a stepmom, grandma and now great grandma (did I mention the kid thing?) who has a bigger farm than she ever dreamed of, a herd outside her windows and is working on answering that old question from family about living in a barn… as we convert the old barn here into a home.

    Last night with 3 of our 4 large dogs tucked into bed with us, one on the floor, we listened to the coyotes serenade us and smiled at each other knowing we had ended up with exactly whom – and where – we were intended to be.

    Sorry to ramble on so long, but obviously this was yet another which struck a chord!

    Reply
  4. Oh Anna, you have conjured up so many memories and feelings with your words. I left home at 17 and was searching for the black chalk. I was well into raising a family until I realized that I had always been a misfit and started wielding that black chalk with conviction. Seems the rules often redefine them selves.

    Reply
  5. Oh Anna, your words conjured so many memories and feelings.
    At 17 I left home but it was not until my thirties , when I took the black chalk out of the coin pocket of my Levi’s 501 jeans that I noticed that I had been writing in the sky all those years. Clearly a misfit and trying to fit the mold any way…..

    Reply
  6. Misfits, Outliers, or whatever term someone wishes to use. There are those who demean anyone who doesn’t follow their way. In other words, you. But you are the ones who stimulate our lives and prove that the road less traveled can be the most fulfilling.

    Reply
  7. she just took herself out of bounds
    from their small flat place

    I love this phrase. It so captures the reality of moving out of the circle of small thinking. I appreciate the visual and emotional that you bring to life in your poem/prose. thank you.

    Reply

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