by Jeanne Souldern


disowned self

Look at me, look at my face

I try to look in the mirror at my face

Yet I only see my father’s


His rage, his madness, his perceived injustices


I don’t want to look at them, can’t

He was angry, wrong, selfish

In denial

Of the hurt, he inflicts on others


I can’t look at his anger

I might just see the seed of my own


All these years I’ve felt betrayed by him, by his temper

And now I realize there’s a good chance we may be cut from the same cloth


My mother was the passive one

Acquiesce to the bully

After all, he is your husband

Didn’t you say yes to that “love, honor, and obey” bit?


I choose not to be passive

Being docile gets you hit

Submission leaves you to die like

An injured lamb bleeding from the puncture wounds

Of the gnashes of the wolf’s resentful teeth


In the years since his death

I’ve made him the boogie man

I’ve cast him as the misunderstood husband and father

I’ve diagnosed him many times over


Then I return to the place

Where I know him

I know his anger

I know because I feel it too

The world had better listen to me

Or else


My anger is ugly, it is blood boiling

It’s saying hurtful words knowing

Full well they’re hurtful

It’s wanting to strike first

For, at the core, is the fear that

They will strike me first


When I’m angry

It’s not him

It’s me

The me I’ve disowned

Until now


27 Boxes

At age seven

I sold 27 boxes of Camp Fire Girls candy

In our neighborhood

I went out all alone


How many blocks walked

How many doors knocked and

How many strangers had

Listened to a little girl


Chocolate-covered caramels

And mint patties

And the assorted chocolates box

Where are your parents, little girl?


Mom and Dad are busy

I don’t mind being a little girl all alone

I want to sell for my troop

At my school


Sometimes the walk is lonely

But that last nice lady bought two boxes

And she thanked me for being so brave

To venture out all alone


Brave, I thought

Maybe that is what I am

But I wanted to be a part of

Doing good for my troop


If that means I’m brave

Then I guess I am

A brave little girl


I sold the most boxes of candy

My troop leader gives me

A paper award

With my name written on it

And 27 boxes sold


For years, Jeanne Souldern wanted to be someone’s muse. Now, she wants to be her own. She moved to Carbondale, CO from Minnesota in November 2018. Photo of the head of her hand drum. “The spiral always felt like a life’s path… you may circle around again but you will see things from a different perspective.”

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