I store sorrow seeds and bitter roots
in gold jars where memory breaks
their pain into parables I’ve risen from.

Hell prefers the unaware, the wound
and not the scar, but the candle of my spirit
has been formed from match strikes at midnight.

My childhood stolen by hands of harm
caused me to swim silently in a river of threats
until trust carried my voice to freedom.

I reject brutality’s attempts to pour me into a victim’s mold
or chain me to the barbed wire of ghosts.
I am a survivor resurrected whole from affliction.

© 2018, Susie Clevenger

April 13, 2018:

I’m on my way home from the Lucidity poetry conference. I learned a lot from fellow poets and from Nathan Brown. I highly recommend if you have a chance to go to one of Nathan Brown’s workshops, do it! He teaches through music, storytelling, and poetry reading.
As per one of the requirements I wrote a poem for Lucidity‘s Annual poetry contest. At the time I didn’t know why I was being led to write such a personal poem about abuse. When the awards were given out it earned an honorable mention. As with anyone who enters a contest the hope is to win. I was disappointed but stood up to read the poem not expecting to be emotional. I felt a bit overwhelmed but managed to read it and then sat down. After the ceremony a man came up to me in tears. He thanked me for being brave enough to write it and to read it. He said he was going home to tell his daughter about it. He said she had suffered abuse and he thought it would speak to her, help her. I leaned over to the table picked up the poem handed it to him,and told him to give it to her. He wrapped his arms around me and we cried together. I then knew my reason for writing it and my reason for reading it. Susie

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