The child twists a ringlet,

runs to the shops to buy

candy, rides her bike

by the river and assembles

a dream-world, bigger world

than her whole reality.

        The child found worship in her heart

for God and love

for an infant raccoon alone under a tree,

talked to herself incessantly, and often,

she talked to God, and to his son, Jesus.

        She went to school, but chalked it up

to unimportant servitude, felt joyful

and free, plucking the autumn leaves,

engaging with the neighbour’s dog.

        The child was wild, swinging

from willow branches, throwing stones,

skipping stones, toes always at the edge

of the unsettled river.

Cats were her guardians, confidants and kin.

Church was boredom, except for the one place

where the light was let in, that place

took over her full imagination

as she traveled through and into

an instinctual reverie.

        The child loved her family,

was allowed every independence,

was ostracized by the other children

for her crocheted clothes and the colour

of her flaming hair. Some called her witch,

others, an atrocity, and the grown-ups, beautiful.

        The child rode horses when she got older,

wrote down the songs of clouds and the names of

the crows that would follow her, converse with her

from the school bus window.

        The child found her belonging in her own head,

with the animals, and sometimes, she remembers,

walking silently, holding the hand of a great angel.



Copyright © 2022 by Allison Grayhurst



First published in “Ink Pantry” June 2022




You can listen to the poem by clicking below:


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