Submitted Date 10/26/2018

I ran out on my life barefoot,

my image confused in mirrors.

I blend in like a bruise

concealed in doubt

with every other woman

encountered here. My name

so disjointed, once familiar

like me, how it ricochets

off walls like an echo

unanswered. At night

I try to unwind

the long hours

that once struck

closed to a fist

of four letter words.

My name is charity;

And I am just a woman

who has been torn down

one low blow at a time.

This urban dwelling

is a shelter

built on a base of bone

and blood.

We women here,

we know: Fear is the mortar

paralyzing thoughts

so twisted out of place.

I have dialed 1-800 numbers stuck

to swinging metal doors

engraved with graffiti I have flushed

away the waste

of years.

I drag along my children

and my shame.

When my Focus died

on the roadside,

courage dripped like oil

from a crack

in my plans

of escape.

As the new moon pulls

the lid of night over me,

who am I now?

I am Eve.

My husband shot me

in the face. Pretty face.

Pretty awful the beauty

I will no longer see,

but I feel, and I hear

the gifted, god-

like surgeons

reconstructed me

using pieces of my ribs.

I am wired together.

I am wired.

In facing the present,

the past still palpitates

in death-like flashes,

too dark to break

the shadow I am

learning to walk again

through walls

that give way

to flights

of unperceivable stairs

seemingly never ending.

As I stand before the stare

of the unblemished

face of the future,

who am I now?

I am Hope,

and lately I am

barely hanging on.

Should you look

a little closer,

you will see

why I am losing it.

I have become one

who finds

her sons and daughters

huddled hushed in bedrooms

far away, down hallways

that stretch through the years

of this house—this home

wherein a familiar fear seeps

beneath doors. My children,

they have become accustomed

to the sound of violence.

My name is Faith,

and I can only hope

you haven’t noticed

how I fall asleep inside

the backseat of my Camry

in this Kmart parking lot.

No low-rent room

can offer such a view.

At times, I almost believe

the simple feeling of safety

can come in crazily

cramped quarters.

It sure beats a knife

to the throat, a boot

to the breast,

a word to my heart.

The ongoing threats

have left me


It is time for me

to put pen

to paper,

for I must

cover my back

with words,

black and white.


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