Once upon a time, there were four sisters.

OK, not really ‘once upon a time.’

More like ‘I have three sisters’

And I make four.


The thing about sisters is this:

They know you like no other.

They are evil.

And they aren’t afraid to show it.


A few examples if you will:


A hard smack with an English book

(To this day we don’t know why)

Forced to eat the dandelions

(They are NOT deadly by the way)

A broken before good use Play-dough factory

(And yes, I’m still bitter)


Another thing about sisters is this:

They break things.

They are good at that.

And they have bad aim.


A few examples if you will:


A careening pillow through the living room

(The lamp never was the same)

The missing plate from the cupboard

(Year of servitude to follow)

A foot through the wall

(She started it, swinging my cat over her head)


One more thing about sisters:

They get things.

They laugh when others don’t.

And they do it now.


A few examples if you will:


Is it true what they say?

(You know, about refrigerators)

Would you like a cornflake treat?

(One bugle, one bugle)

A shotgun through closed glass

(And you can kiss my Kentucky ass)

Pantyhose, Suitcases, Hedges, and Me


Laura Ingalls and Mary, Carrie and Jack.

Four little girls, two with panty hose on their heads, one with hair long enough to pass, and me.

The dog.


Samsonite suitcases, hard sided, and a box.

Three little girls, one on the big brown horse, one on the smaller beige, and me.

On a box.


A three wheeler, cutting through humid summer air.

Two little girls, one in the front saying “I know what I’m doing” and me.

Thrown off as we fly through the hedge.


Wanting again to be the dog,

To ride the box,

To fly despite the landing.

One little girl.




milking the corn


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I stand here, holding what now looks more like a bottle than the ear it really is.

Hold it at the bottom, pour the milk out through the top.

Careful when you cut it, not too deep.

Cut too deep and you get the tough parts nobody wants to chew.

Cut each ear, each one into the bottle.

Pour it from the top, just the back of the knife so you get all the milk.

She never told me this, how to cut the corn, how to milk it.

She showed me.

I stand here, at the very table where I remember her cutting and milking, snapping beans, kneading coffee can bread and turning it out on a cloth after taking it from the fire.

She never told me how to get the strings off, how to bring the beans up to a boil fast and then turn them low to simmer for hours, throwing in a hunk of salted ham or bacon.

She never told me to start the corn low.

Not to bring it up fast like the beans, but leave low to hold the sweetness that no sugar can bring.

She showed me those things.

I learned a great deal from what she showed me.

Her words were silk on paper, often stinging from the mouth.

She showed me how to love people, how to treat them, how to push them away when they hurt.

She showed me how talk to everyone, express to each that I am no better than they, knowing always inside how to fear and not to trust.

Through good and bad, she didn’t teach me through words, she showed me.

She showed me how to love, how to fear, how understand, and how not to.

She showed me how to milk the corn.

it wasn’t your fault


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It Wasn’t Your Fault – An Exercise from The Courage to Heal Workbook

The following is a Slam piece created by a compilation of survivors’ responses to the “It wasn’t your fault” exercise in the Courage to Heal Workbook.  These items are used with permission of the survivors.

It was really my fault because

I never told

I never screamed

I never fought back

I never ran away

I never reported it

I never


It was really not my fault because

I never knew how to tell

I never wanted it

I never should have to scream

I never should have to fight

I never knew it was wrong

I never


It was really my fault because

I didn’t lock my door

I didn’t stand up for myself

I didn’t wear pajama bottoms

I didn’t want my Mom to know

I didn’t struggle

I didn’t


It was really not my fault because

I shouldn’t have to lock my door

I shouldn’t have to stand up to him

I shouldn’t have to wear pajama bottoms

I shouldn’t have to tell my Mom

I shouldn’t have to struggle

I shouldn’t







It was really my fault because

I was too needy

I was his favorite

I was a bad girl

I was not a son

I was there

I was


It was really not my fault because

I was two

I was four

I was seven

I was nine


I was…

i am a BITCH.


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I am boisterous.


I am baffling, brave, blunt, bizarre, and bad ass!


I am interesting.

I am intense.

I am intimidating, incensed, imaginative, irrational, and impatient.


I am tough.

I am tolerant.

I am trusted, talented, tenacious, tactless, and ticked off!


I am courageous.

I am colorful.

I am crazy, caring, curt, candid, and complicated.


I am habitual.

I am hard.

I am human, heated, helpful, honest, and harried.




hey you


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Hey you,


I see you.

I see you looking.

I see you looking at me.

I see you looking at me and judging.

I see you looking at me and judging what you see.


Hey you,


You won’t know.

You won’t know who.

You won’t know who or what.

You won’t know who or what I am.

You won’t know who or what I am inside, in my mind.


Hey you.


In my mind.

In my mind is love.

In my mind is love and faith.

In my mind is love and faith and desire.

In my mind is love and faith and desire and FIRE!


Hey you.


I am more.

I am more than what you refuse to see.

don’t tattle


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She’s looking at me!

I hate it when she looks at me like that!

Shhh…Don’t tattle


She’s in my space!

You said that was MY space!

Shhh…Don’t tattle


She’s touching me!

She’s not supposed to touch me!

Shhh…Don’t tattle

The message is loud and clear, repeated again and again.


He’s looking at me.

I hate it when he looks at me like that.

Shhh…Don’t tattle


He’s in my space.

You said that was my space.

Shhh…Don’t tattle


He’s touching me.

He’s not supposed to touch me.

Shhh…Don’t tattle

The message is loud and clear with words never spoken.