“It could be easier!”
They all shout out
catching my attention 
on different screens

“Just accept how it is.”
Moaning behind desks
hating on my freedom 
shackled to invisible debts

“Settle down and be happy.”
They cry, tears cutting
their smiles jagged across 
poised plastic personalities 

“Please believe us!”
Screaming desperately 
shaking and breaking
compromised integrity

“Be good. Do right. Believe me.”
Loudest of all, deep in past
the men who tried to own me
bellow their justifications

I bellow back in a roar –
I stopped running from voices
long enough ago to face this


“Show yourself child…”
I call out, soothingly
to small frightened wildling
peaking dirty from her cave 

“You’ll never be good enough – “
she coos, tears falling free
streaking dirt stained cheeks
still mimicking what voices say

“Hush now my dear!”
I chastise lovingly, drawing
her to me with open arms
kissing her twig filled hair

“Why do they hate me?”
She sobs defeated on my breast 
I squeeze her littleness tighter
letting my heart beat caress 

“They only hate themselves -“
I breathe into her ear
brushing hair from her eyes 
staring deep into her fear

Her gaze softens instantly 
as no more words are said
and I watch her heart breaking 
as she realizes what is meant –


I let her cry, shaking violently 
in my arms, feeling safe
she’s finally allowed just to be –
together we begin to heal

After our silence and sorrow 
she looks up at me and smiles
reveling her missing baby teeth
and giggling for the first time

I ask permission to bathe her
then gently start to detangle 
her locks of leaves and pinecones 
brushing out the savage neglect

Softly and slowly I wash
her dirty little face and body
cleaning out years of survival 
from underneath finger nails

A fresh new sundress and sandals 
some pretty ribbons in her hair 
eyes shining joy from a bright face
flush pink with vitality and care

She glances at me worried
and I wink as if to say
“I’ll be here to cleanse you darling –
go play in your wildling way”

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