Among the Ashes

For Lora


Once it grew here.
Among the things that thrive
Green with spring, alive
Reaching fruited limbs on high,
To praise a blazing Son.

Once it blew here.
Among the tempests formed
The wind, the gales of summer’s storms
Branches battered, pruned and scattered
Prostrate, lying,
Felled and scorned.

Once it bruised here.
Among the things that die
Like autumn’s withered grains of wheat
Broken, lifeless, dry
Kindling gathered, stored and staggered,
Awaiting flames that purify.

Once it flew here.
In smoke and ashes high
An offering of everything
Surrendered to the sky
Flames with winter’s longest night,
In embers, sparks of faintest light.

Once it grew here.
Before the ashes flew
Before a life was felled and bruised,
Before the tempests blew.

Here, new spring. Awakening.
Among the ashes see,
A tender shoot,
With upward gaze,
Alive, Arising.

Despite a deep desire to belong, Nichole Woo often finds life nudging her to the margins. She’s been the only girl on the team, the only public speaking teacher afraid of public speaking, the sole minority in extended family photos, and the only mom who lets her kids drink Fanta. She calls the Rockies home, often pretending to be a Coloradoan in spite of her flatland origins. She writes at