This is the third of a five-part, weeklong series to celebrate the life and work of Greta Wrolstad. Her book, Night is Simply a Shadow, was published posthumously this summer by Tavern Books. We have brought together a collection of memories, poems, stories, and reviews by those who knew and loved Greta and her work. 


By Robert Schlegel


There is that bird again Finding its way In transitive flights— greta_rock

Where the rock was Not fear in the space But its fact—

A feeling of if and dirt In the space where the rock was A phrase and its refusal.

Then start again.

A feeling of if and a feeling of or

A feeling of and And a feeling of then

Of where and what more But when In life’s nonsense

We think of faces And trembling

Come to see them.


(from The Lesser Fields, Center for Literary Publishing, 2009)


Note on “Lives of Greta”: In April, 2009, three men from the University of Montana’s Physical Plant pulled their truck into my driveway. From my writing desk, I watched them excavate a large rock I had donated for Greta’s memorial that was to be constructed outside the Language Arts building on UM’s campus. After hoisting the rock into the bed of the truck, the men drove off. This poem was written in the minutes that followed.