A Daughter’s Prayer

The Past

As a young child, I carried many ants
on my arms
but he blew them off
in the hurricane of his voice.

He hacked away at the woods with his questions,
one tree at a time,
one dream at a time,
severing my heart from his
until the forest of my soul laid bare.

I grew up in the shadow of his cloud
never asking for more sunshine
than needed to stay put within the four walls
of family and expectations.

The Present

Can roots grow where there are none left?
Can they grow like philodendrons
from nothing but water
and promises to change?

The Future

Here, in the garden
I rest,
with the running water
of the fountain.
The sun burns my eyes with hope and
I feel a tingling.
My nails grow long and spindly.
My body shrinks with wrinkles.
My voice cracks like the heron’s calls.

I see an old woman now,
moss-covered,
with long, greying hair,
roots twisting and
touching the earth
that holds her father’s ashes.

Now

Bid the clouds that muffle
our cries farewell,
for it is not too late yet.

Let it not be death that frees us.

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Open Window

I filled the ‘O’ in LOVE with black
after you broke my heart.
You slipped into the dark hole
of memory, my source of nightmares.

She spoke French.
I spoke heartbreak.
You said swear words
I didn’t know existed.

I opened the window and
thought about jumping, but
I worried you wouldn’t hear
the thud, and the trees’
branches would catch me.

I threw out all your stuff
and her flimsy dresses.
I saw a pink one, fitted,
slinky, and imagined it
clinging to a body
like betrayal.

The clothes hung on
to the trees, flares of love
signaling my rescue from above.

Female Wolf

Dear Former Beloved

Thank you for being the man in the dark room of my dreams. Your intrusions as the predator of the psyche shook me awake. Your force called the wild woman within.

(Are the people in our lives just lessons, just moments of time that teach us to shed the shit that cakes our muddy paws? Can a she-wolf find her mate and stop having nightmares?)

You showed me the killing room in my head, and I nearly threw away the key. Near death, I crawled my way out into the light.

And then, you came into my sleep. I held a baby—ours—and you turned your head away. On awakening, I wondered if I could survive the rejection. But now I know that I was being reborn and this meant everything.

Pleading for time, I gathered my strength for the first and final battle: letting you go.

The forbidden door was opened and the stench of starvation willed me to feed the soul cry. From the bones laid on the deathbed, the Bone Woman reconstructed me. I, a wild woman, rose from the ashes of sacrifice.

Now, I stalk the intruder back to his dark corner. And off I run into the horizon, laughing, howling like a coyote.

Thank you.


Inspired by the book I just finished reading: Women Who Run With the Wolves, by Clarissa Pinkola Estés, Ph. D.