2017 in Retrospect

I feel as though I only vaguely
remember the past year,
the details fuzzy around the edges
like remembering a dream upon waking;
and yet I vividly remember
hatred and anger and bitterness,
the screaming and fighting
over subjective righteousness.
Could we have a little more listening
and understanding for the next 365?


The Giving Season

Alms pleaded in the streets.
A little help,
a hand up, not just a hand out.
A little food,
something to keep the body


A little rest, a place to feel safe,
to forget circumstance, for a moment.
A little sign,
compassion still exists, right?
Even kind words and smiles
can have the effect of a warm blanket.

via Daily Prompt: Underdog

The Shell Game [TW]

Note to Readers: This piece contains descriptors of violent physical abuse, mental and emotional abuse, and allusion to sexual abuse/assault. Read at your own discretion.

If you’re interested in supporting survivors: Donate to RAINN


They live in our houses,
our communities.
They work with us
and are integral to our
daily lives;
we bequeath them with titles:
Grandmother – Mother – Daughter
Sister – Aunt – Niece – Cousin
Wife – Girlfriend – Best Friend

However there are others
who see them as less
and reduce them to nothing
but objects for the amusements of
small men;
things to be rated and taken apart,
drained and damaged,
thrown against walls and onto floors,
then discarded when the novelty fades
and threatened into conformity with
authority and deceit.

First and foremost
these women are people,
and many are






Too often they fall between the cracks.
They get lost in the shell game
abusers love to play
(Shuffle the cups, where’s the ball? You lose, sucker!)
and we can’t keep letting them down,
letting them suffer alone,
weeping and bloody in the
indignity of darkness.
No more silence.
No more secrets.
No more denial.
No more intimidation.
No more.


It’s been nearly a decade,
but I still think
about that one day…

I was only home two days,
attempting to begin healing
physically, mentally, and emotionally,
when you decided
I needed to know.

You called me a selfish monster,
a hateful beast,
and blamed me for destroying something
that hadn’t existed in years.
You decided
I wasn’t broken enough,
so you unleashed
your bitterness, your anger,
and aimed it at the fresh wound
in my chest.

You told me I needed to learn
how to make sacrifices
for the benefit of others,
but I guess carving out
my own heart
and giving it to someone
who needed it more
wasn’t enough.

So you broke me further,
the one I had always been told
I could count on,
no matter what;
you twisted my vulnerability,
clawed at my mind,
and ripped apart
what was left
of my sanity.

But I’m still here.
I put back the pieces as best I could;
I’ll never be the same,
not with all the gaps
where some pieces
were obliterated,
but I’m alive.
I’m living.

And you’re still
just a

Conditional Love

You made the choice to make me,
to bring me into existence.
You decided it was alright
for me to take up residence
inside your body
for nine months.

Then you decided to raise me,
to teach me right from wrong
and to make good choices,
even though you knew I was
and capable of error.

Just like you.

I wouldn’t say my childhood was a
other “parents” do far worse,
though to me
both in the moment
and in retrospect
you could have done better.

Both of you could have done better.

You stayed “for the children”
in spite of his rage,
his angered outbursts
over so many trivial things.
In all of my minor years
you only left once,
and for only a small
handful of months
before “finances” drove you
back to him.

But somewhere
in the four years afterward
you changed.
You became the angry one,
the bitter one.
You raged when I left the nest,
and abandoned me months later
during a tsunamic and devastating choice
I couldn’t escape.

“I can’t accept that”,
you claimed,
your self-righteousness and anger
clouding the difference between
the respect and support
I asked of you
and the acceptance
you so readily revoked.
Then one-by-one,
through a web of lies and deceit
hidden behind the mask of a
you turned family and friends
against me.

I’ll love you forever, unless…

It was in that moment,
and in many more since,
that you showed me
a mother’s love
can be conditional.