She used to tell other girls

Sista! Stand up for yourself!

And when others needed her voice

She lent her ROAR

Don’t be quiet and let them walk over you, she cautioned

But when it came to her own

She sat demure, a photo in old box

Doe eyed and blinking

Knees together, ironed hair

Palms touching in supplicate

Head keenly nodding on hot wire

Stomach lurching like unmoored ship, drunk on the dream of voyage

All the while

A scream building inside


I am not a number to be parceled and coded

Spat out and told, we have no answers, for we have no understanding of the soul

I FEEL and in the night, if you listen closely at my door you’ll hear me pray

To every spirit and four leaf clover, even, the lopsided rabbit in my arms

As time flickered away with each new day of sickness

She needed an advocate

To be her unguarded voice

Which had become lost

In all the twists and turns.

And the tall doctor

He was no mind-reader

He had his well rehearsed routine and could if needed, click his ankles in mid-jump

She wasn’t easy to label and dismiss

Nor did she want to be, a compliant good girl

She wanted to question until they dragged her out into the street

Writhing to the sound of her own outrage

That we are abandoned by medicine in our most desperate hour

Leaving unhealed like scabs, without voices, our ill tended shadows

She wanted to understand

And find ways that didn’t involve dependency upon pills

He was a blonde marionette, testing his overbite

Talking in her head, Yak yak yak

The sound of chomping wood and splinters for lunch

She heard no future

Unless she spoke up

But where was her tongue?

Where had it gone?


17 thoughts on “Advocating

  1. When I worked in mental health care, a new coworker asked, after meeting some of her clients, “How do you do this?” I answered, “The system is a machine. The only way it gets a heart is if we give it ours, knowing it will be repeatedly broken, and sometimes healed.” The “blonde marionette” has not given that gift, or has pulled it back in fear, and so become that wooden doll repeating formulaic words, unwilling to hear and be touched, become part of the machine. Would screaming be so uncalled for?

    Her voice may not have been there, but it is here.

  2. Another one I can completely relate to. If someone would just listen and be willing to treat outside the box instead of following their scripts. Their hands are tied, they tell us.
    Oh for that magic wand…. I’d wave it over us both. You first. ❤️❤️

  3. Any member of the helping professions would identify with this – so easy to put others first; and so disappointing not to be treated as we would others

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