I was a mountain by Melita White


One day, when I was six, I became a mountain
It was the day I yelled and screamed with righteousness into thick air, the air my only witness, while I sat on my bed’s soft bedrock
And with my pillow I swiped at that air, at the bed, at the enemy sitting next to me — her name was Injustice
And the rage burst out like lava from a fissure that needed so much to crack open and Injustice was afraid of me and though the lesson did not teach her anything I learnt there was power in truth and in my anger
I was a mountain

To freeze is not to escape but is to survive by staying still
A fawn is a baby deer but it also means to play along so someone doesn’t kill you
To flee is to run away from danger and escape
And to be able to fight and win — what a dream and privilege that would be

The quake I felt once I’d escaped, its aftershocks I felt again
My heart was coming loud with aches
Thrashed heavy like the pillow you used to suffocate
The murmurs that catch upon my breath
Are the beating wings of the bird trapped in my chest
While she’s learning to fly she remembers to sing
And the frozen fawn she flees the scene

My six year old awoke this morning, her rage amplified so hard by life that the walls pulsed, the glass throbbed and the wood thumped in sympathy
I will give you a thumping my father said to my brother
It was a threat to behave better like your hands on my throat were a suggestion of death
The fawn froze
Half-dead half-here half-there
Brain bisected violently, hurtling towards life and death simultaneously
You refuse to give life, to grow branches and shoot out twigs and new leaves
Your roots stay stuck in your concrete pot, demand that others tend without taking
A puppet ruler, a tin-pot dictator — you fail to give even air

And yet we write — our words don’t flee, they stand and fight
Poems infiltrate the water supply like truth serum
Liars are exposed
The ghosts of those you murdered stand outside your house banging loudly on pots and pans
Charivari, the rough music of justice, the just music of shame
Groundwater toxins vibrate in time, buckle epidermis of earth which pops with stochastic rhythm driven nonsensical by algorithms forming sharp little mountains everywhere the music is heard
The anvil of avoidance presses down firmly, suppressing pain and signals that should be voiced
The pressure exerted here will form a mountain over there
The rough music of justice will be heard and it will make tall mountains

I remember the facile pointless lessons repeated to you yet not learnt
Like discussing morality with a naughty child in an alien dialect
Your tongue so close to my own, the timbre alike but the words made no sense
The dissonance so loud that the difference tones buzzed my eardrums and filled my brain with hot fuzz like lava
And the mountains swelled and popped up randomly on the surface of my mind
And I became one — again
I became a mountain

Melita White is founder and writer of the blog Feminist Confessional, a space that features feminist poetry, essays and personal pieces in a confessional style, with a focus on the MeToo movement. She is a composer and musician and loves making all kinds of things. https://feministconfessional.wordpress.com

The border and the line – Candice Louisa Daquin

There are two people who live in my house

One hates the other

When she gets dressed she seathes with irrational rage

Undo good intentions, break promises, bury the light

Her reflection is an anathema

She didn’t ask to be

Born on a frigid wheel

Where half her life she is dunked in freezing water unable to breathe

And the other half sees the sun but knows she is soon to drown

Following the cycles of the moon like a lightning struck tree

Is hollow without its ghosts

They could be twins, she and me, but for the discrepancy

One is stable and reliable almost predictable

She can sit still too long, she can behave, she is smooth like a lucky pearl

The other doesn’t know what she’ll wake up as

Will it be full of a desire to hide from every living soul

Or flay herself

Or make love to her rage

Or sit quietly screaming picking at her scabs?

Will she try hard to “do what normals do” before floundering

And exposing

One by one

The unstitched hem of her irrationality and flounder

See, she knows it

The border and the line

Love and hate

Nice and fearsome

Just as she knows her eyes see too deep

Underneath the social lie

The polite surface

Where faux people demand to be trusted

And she’s never going to

One day pretend, the next day damned

Her mercury is poison only to those with expectation

She’d like to be stable but her emotions are daggers

They pierce at random

Paranoia, truth, paranoia, truth

Unfortunately she’s usually correct in her assessment

Of people and their shuffling tokenism

So burn brightly babies

You won’t eat her ashes tonight

She protects the girl who has a ragged heart

From further harm

She can’t ever be relied upon

She’s a convulsing spirit with no arm bands she can’t float

And it’s a lucky thing really

Since you seek to shatter her doupleganger

The last defense

Is usually your own

And I understand the broken

As they intuitively seek me

We eat our dinner together

Over broken conversation

And a shared silence where we need

No words to explain

Why children inherit

The mixture of right and wrong

Frayed souls, torn people

Pulled in two directions

First by others, then themselves

Carrying on the song

Of solid and insubstantial

You can destroy a person

And their pieces will reform

But they won’t be who they were meant to be

One watches the other

Wishing they could be reliable

And every day we wake

Unsure if we’ll want to live or self harm

The cut off a knife from your own hands

The stranger in the mirror when you look closely

At why you can’t act normal

And fit in with the world

One day pretend, the next day damned