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  • Jessica Crowley


Amber coat my spine,

drip into strands of dark brown hair,

wash my mind, excavate dark thoughts

caught in cobwebs,

seep into bone white pores,

envelope tight spasms,

make my body move like



he text me; the word sat on the screen like a fat cat,

daring me to believe.

I looked away,

shook off the feeling of resistance like a dog.


Japanese maple, green stars red tips,

leaves dance with wind, crunch under feet,

Will I leave him? Leave

Where would I go?


Crumble of oak, dog pulls my

body down the street and worries down from the recesses of the mind

into sight—

How do we protect the kids from us?

How will I keep the house?

Who will love me? 

Would you would like to dive into bed with a new lover?

Presence surrounding, pulsating

breasts still high and round,

nipples like puckered lips,


surround the knot of anxiety in my sternum with love,

(I was Catholic, but that religion made me feel small, dirty.)

Goddess, a mother to lay my head in her lap,

feel her healing hands caress my hair,

remind me of my worth. Inhale earthly smells of a warm November day,

sit on the blue, plastic surface of an abandoned bleacher,

legs crossed. Remove my hood and hat,

shake out my hair, colors of autumn leaves,

scalp tingles, sends a shiver down my spine.

Free me from the voice.

Release me from the bondage of the past.

Clarity. Courage.

Purpose. Passion. Purity.

Peace. Possibility. Prosperity

Take the pain from my body—

neck and shoulders, hips and knees,

inflamed with fear, burning from within,

red, swollen and screaming.


It is time for my spring melt.

Start a campfire between my shoulder blades.

Smolder the muscle into dough,

roll it out with my grandmother’s wooden rolling pin,

knead me. Melt my heart.

Use my ribs as firewood.

Let me hear them crackle, split apart from heat.

Let the flames lick up to and under my jaw.

Let my voice come out rumbling.


With my ashes blowing in the wind, let my body smoke

over the ocean, between the trees into the forest floor.

When you find the last ember,

breathe into it, keep breathing, 

I must burn,

let me burn.


This is my exorcism.

Here on the page.

This is my therapist’s couch.

In the woods upstate New York, the rain came

at the break of day, your light can never be wrong,

stars whisper blessings as you walk by.




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