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A N  E X P L O R A T I O N  O F  T H E  E M A N C I P A T I O N   O F   A D O L E S C E N C E 

[ E K - S U H - D U H S ]


N O U N 

A  G O I N G  O U T  ;  A  M A S S  D E P A R T U R E 


     The term “Exodus” translates to a going out; a mass departure. “Exodus”, as it relates to me, speaks to my own departure from childhood and movement into womanhood.

     This body of work is intended to explore my most sacred and suppressed memories and express my fears I carry at my core. The child within me sits patiently as I find the answers to my own questions.

     It is my hope that, through this work, we will meet with open arms, enfolded in one another, prepared for childhoods final curtain call.


" I’ve written of bird cages in my chest.
Sometimes too big, but always too small,
that opportunity of release right under my itchy toes.

I’ve written of bird cages in my chest.
My name is not mine, but I am not yours.

I’ve written of bird cages in my chest.
A structure my Mother gave me, a story my Father named me after. "


     What those mirrors saw —

not for me to know.


     My hands on you,

his hands on him.


     Seeping light and oozing guilt.


     He —

     No bigger than the yardstick

I used to flip the switch.


    Acting out sick desires

in the

refraction of reflections.


     Hands gliding into

uncharted territories

     Marked “No Trespassing”.


     I, the villain,

he, the sitting duck —




     The air tasting of Listerine —

     A sheen of baby powder on

countertops and toilet

tank covers.


     Isolation on Lancaster

to shame

radiating from fingertips.

Shuddering at the “What ifs”.


     Now —

A baby in your arms,

A woman in your bed

fleeing a line of lineage.


     I —

A silent statistic.


     With my tail between my legs

you put me in a box

locked the gate

left me for dead.

     Mirrors and moldy couches —

glass splinters —

hazardous choking —

the only things that remain.

     Mosquito bites and peach fuzz —

     Sour cravings that made

your thumbs tingle.

     A fallen angel hidden beneath extermination.

     Serpents strangling childish limbs —

a sad excuse for fighting back.

     Too much for you,

not enough for myself.

     Toes breaking as they grip the only

foundation they’ve ever known.

     I handed you my heart and you

fed it to the dog under the table.

     Like Lazarus, I will die again.


     A twin-sized bed —

a pallet on the floor.

     He above —

us below.


     A question asked —

an answer abused.

     Do you?



     A voice that ricochets —

a prepubescent growl.


   Praying the invasion will be quick —

accepting an empty ending.


     Tiptoeing through

five and a half minute hallways.


     Cicadas at dusk —

my Louisiana lullaby.


     Seeping into damp bath mats

as sunrise squeezes through fiber glass.


     Bathing my wounds in oceans

of salt as I wait for my wings to

take flight in water.


     What a plot twist I was.


     " At the end of guileless lies a room that muzzles and leaves me blind. The vignettes around my childhood memories have swallowed every answer; and I descry but only a circle of light stalking my vicious ogle.

     At six years old, I dreamt of geese ripping out my hair; this nightmare took away my ability to sleep under the covers until myths of fertility and an ode to empowerment made themselves known.

     They masticated and gnawed until my scalp was weak and my cloak of protection confiscated.     

     Extrication is cradled in my infantile palms but my emancipation from this expanse is my induction to my own inquietude.

     I now drown in my own exodus scouring for an entity to shepherd me out of this amnesiac-induced concealment.

     But it is within this labyrinth - trapped by brick and mortar - that I fear the incubus’ - the one I fight and the one I feed. "


     I mark my territory with tear stains

and blood clots.

     Mascara settles into my pillow as

the mountains vanish into fog.

     I tear my finger nails with the hope

that they’ll come back stronger.

     I write my name 100 times

in an attempt to reclaim ownership.

     The more that I write it the less I can read it.

     I see the dust balls growing in the corner of my room

but I tell them they deserve love too and I refuse

to sweep them away.

     An unmade bed and a garden unshaved -

useless acts on sunken ships.

     The plant in my room has been dead for months,

I’ll give her water when I love her enough.

     I shattered a glass in an act of love

     Broke my heart in an act of pity.

     Bit by bit the bird builds its nest,

my cheeks became red like a Robins chest.

" There is a round room in a round house

with yellow walls, a grandfather clock,

and Precious Moments

figurines staring you down

wherever you go.


I remember white trim and

sandy carpet under my toes

in the house that built me,

the home that burned me.


They called me the “Vulnerable Child,”

a self-diagnosed burden.


I am now becoming a mirror

of my younger self.

My hair is still full of tangles and

reminiscent of the rats nest I built as a kid, and

I still chew my cheeks when I get nervous like I

did that night in Baton Rouge. "


   White walls leave room for thought

so I cover every inch.


     Comfort in control —


     Time to kill makes me

a murderer of rest.


     Silence in the slow —


     Heel to toe heel to toe heel to toe…


     Twiddling thumbs to licking wounds

four walls I built up,

four walls I burned down.


     “Let august be august” she said.


      So I let it go but I

leave claw marks in return.


     Falling to my knees in bathtubs —

making memories out of bruises.


     Ribbons of hair twirling to the ground

making themselves at home

in the cracks and crannies

of the stripes of cherry pine.


     I am still learning that

people are not



     People say you look like your dog —

and I do —

     But me and my boy share more than

blonde hair and green eyes.


     I romanticize nests of

blue speckled eggs

     Confined to glowing bird cages



They were always shit-covered jail cells

at the pound instead.


     So I crack open each rib

     Reminded of the stench

of piss and bleach

     Surrounded by concrete mazes

and chicken wire.


     The stray at the pound that

you single-handedly cried for

     But then dropped off around

the corner on Christmas Day.


     Bound to home

     Clawing at freedom

     Letting my guard down

at the site of a parsimonious palm.


     A savior complex with an

itch to mend

     A redemption awaiting rescue.


     Running away with my tail

between my legs

     An obligation haunted by malignance.


     And as I sit there chanting my chant —

Too much or Not Enough —

     There Is nothing left to do

but accept that this is not my

“Forever Home”.

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