For the young woman I mentor who is incarcerated again. (This poem is a new fairy tale/myth with real world monsters. It’s linked to the Poetics prompt at dVerse Poets Pub.

My Refrain (I love every aspect of you)

girl interrupted smoker
I always prod you to quit
now gum chewing
cold turkey courageous

bipolar therapy going fighter
abused and abusive
wanting to escape
you keep taking the pills
then calling the ambulance

you smile at me
ask me to pray for you
trust me implicitly
and fall asleep in my car

full of anxiety
cutting yourself, picking at scabs
calling me at six in the morning
teasing me that I’m not hard style
like Tigress in the movie that made me cry
(you too but you won’t admit it)

superb public speaker
you know all the words to the songs
your terrified inner child
diagnosed with failure to thrive
feels you have to attack
yet is capable of empathy

writing rap and doing the monster mash
eating like you’ve never been fed
got a 14 on your ACT
but I know you’re smarter than that

full of promise
and self-destruction
I love every rough edged part of you
pray every day for God
to lift the weight of the world
from your shoulders

to remove your self-harming
to give me the strength to walk alongside you
to show you that just because it hurts
doesn’t mean you should withdraw

gently, unconditionally,
I promise to be your friend
advocating on your behalf
holding sacred space for you
to breathe in

Song of the Silver Sea (transformation of the mermaid)

it is always difficult
to circumnavigate the geography
of the sleeping soul

enlightenment is an after effect
its application often rendered mute

let her recall and
she senses permeability
life beneath the surface of the water
a dissonant pastiche

story of movement: with and through
yet some part resists
only the faint glow
surrounding her bioluminescence

a dark that could only absorb
her dispersed light
that reflected on nothing
and offered no other source

did these things come consciously to impede
to weigh, as anchors
in the accounting of her heart?

she remembers only
the perception of loss, undefined
transparent as her being
something driving
guiding her to seeking
to break the surface of the silver sea

its intensity and shock!
awestruck an inept descriptor
enraptured more apt
the waves for the first time
encounter a bulwark
she is out of the flow

light emanates from elsewhere
a confounding calliope of
motion, reflection, iridescence
an encounter that topples
her perceptive paradigm

hurling her into an openness to the world
yet making her more her own
clearly defined, bounded,
more solid than ever before

the light, skipping across the water
drawing her form
reaching for the glory of a larger truth
she is momentarily fixated
as the implications encroach

she is a liminal being
a water spirit
diaphanous and chameleonic
ancient, paradoxically
new in the shifting light

an eternity in the depths, wrenched
a tectonic rupture
powerful forces

awe recedes trailing insight and catharsis,
a shoreline in a once unbroken sea.

Sedna’s Lamentable Tale (song of woe)

homeless at the holidays
picking you up on street corners
incarcerated again and
we are drowning in sorrows

like the Inuit Goddess Sedna
once a young girl clinging
to the side of a boat
as water crashes all about

the raging sea God demands a sacrifice
so her father chops off her fingers
sending her to the abyss
to save himself

settling into the deep
with no way to brush her fine hair
she cannot disentangle herself
thrashing out of frustration
she becomes a Goddess of the sea
source of the storms

hunters must appease her
shamans sent to the icy depths
I close my eyes to feel the rhythm
sing with me the song of the silver sea
not the tragic tale of Sedna
abandoned by her tribe