Jodi Hills

So this is who I am – a writer that paints, a painter that writes…


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The poet.

The poet.A cow hung from the tree outside my grandparents’ window. It swayed without skin. Raw. I knew how this must feel. To be without skin. My mother told her parents that my father had left.

They say when you lose one of your senses, the others become stronger. It was not one of the five, but I had lost my sense of comfort, and all the others were working in overdrive. I could hear the flies buzzing, the tears falling. The gray clouds were palpable. The slightly forever over-cooked pans on my grandma’s stove wafted in the thick air. I stared at the cow. I stared at my grandfather. Back and forth, as if to ask if this was my mother’s fate. My grandfather said very little, ever. So when he did, you listened. “No,” he said, “this will not break your mother.” He found the words. The ones I needed.

Today we are living without hugs. Without touching. Displays of comfort hover somewhere in between six feet of social distancing. We need to find the words to take their place. We need to find the words that hold and gather. The words that offer the “there, there.” The words that fall into each other’s arms with laughter. The words that smile and hold and forgive and offer hope. We have the words. Let’s use them.

Adrienne Rich writes, “It is always what is under pressure in us, especially under pressure of concealment–that explodes in poetry.”

Let yourself explode today – offer the words of kindness and strength. You are the poet. Find the words.


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Le pic et la belette (The woodpecker and the weasel)

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Since Covid began, I have made my daily walks inside of our yard. It’s a grand yard, so no complaints. Lots to see, smell and hear. I walk past the pool, the olive tree, under the pines, past the mailbox, the driveway, the fruit trees (all named) Officer Bob the peach tree, Becky the cherry tree, Abigail the apricot tree, Prune rouge – her name was just too perfect as is (the plum tree)…past the American and French flags…I walk over the space where Daniel used to grow – the almond tree – he didn’t make it – nothing to do with Covid… and past the back gardens, the art studio, the green house, the swing set… it’s lovely, full of life, and I go round.

This spring, some holes started popping up, (or I guess down), throughout the yard. No sign of who was making the holes, but nature certainly nurtured my imagination, and immediately I thought of a weasel. And the thought of a weasel led me to thoughts of burrowing, not just in the ground, but up my pant leg, and so I switched to my tightest, skinniest jeans and walked a little faster.

The other morning, making coffee, looking out as the sky turned from pink to blue, my husband and I watched a green woodpecker picking in the grass. Oh, how we love birds. Look at him. So quick. So agile. Wow, he’s really digging. Look at the dirt actually flying up. He’s really going at it. Wait… we looked at each other… wait, I have to go see… that pic is not just “picking”… why, he’s actually digging… I ran out to find a big hole. A big weasel-like hole. A big, no longer scary hole. It was just the pic (woodpecker). It’s just a little pic hole, I smiled.

Is there a moral to the story? Maybe. Probably. You can find your own. My first English professor in college told us to show, not tell. This is what I know for sure. I switched back to loose pants and joyfully walk in a weasel-free zone. Yes, there’s still Covid, a few holes in the ground, but the sun is shining, the grass is greening, my pants are loose and it feels so good to walk, once again, in the truth.

Becky winks a crooked branch to say, “I knew it all along…”