In my Quest to be Heard

(Image:A Quiet Conversation by Nina Kirova)

Much of what I write is positive, uplifting, and forward moving. I believe that in order to move forward fully, one must shine a light on her history and how she was impacted by it. Here is a small window into my own as I make sense of what it means to have a voice (as an artist and a woman), as well as how childhood experiences linger with us into adulthood. 


I can’t quite remember

how it felt

to swing

in your arms.


I can remember those arms

hurling a plate through the air,

your red shouts,

the yellow squash my sister refused to eat

still sticking to the ceiling lamp

what seemed like years later.


I remember that beautiful bowl of fruit,

the colors grinning up at mama

as she carried it through the kitchen doorway

to the table.


I remember the struggle

as you tugged it from her grip

and slammed it to the ground,

shattering the dish into a million pieces,

fruit bouncing

as she leapt backward from you

into the darkened kitchen.


I remember the loneliness of the staircase

where you sent us

when we were naughty

to think about what we’ve done

and sit still.


It’s not all bad.


I remember the pickup truck bed

filled with sand

to be dumped in the backyard

beneath the treehouse you built the summer before.


You pointed out the differences

in the granules.


I remember casting out

and finally reeling the big one onto shore;

I remember sliding a paddle into the water;

or parking at the beachside;

I remember scurrying up the hill

so we could roll down it.


But then.


I remember the fists flying

and the look in your eye

as you streaked across the kitchen.


I also remember

as I lay on the ground

amidst the mess I made

while playing,

wood and glass and a loud crash with my fall;

the noise had frightened me


before I could speak,

you scolded me.


I would like to hold the things

I remember

over there:

the dip of the sun as you served

barbecued meats and the potato salad;

the bump of your truck

as I rested my head against the back speaker

in silence,

NPR cooing in my ear as you drove.


Yet, I am holding the things I remember

over here:

the hard hand slap against my rump

because I used my outdoor voice

instead of my indoor one;

the reddening

on my backside

because I was chasing my sister

and laughing

when we were supposed to be quiet

and in bed.


Your shout from the couch

as you rested with the paper

when we spoke too loudly

in the kitchen

or held fridge door open

for too long.


And I wonder why

as an adult

I struggle with

my voice.


I can’t remember how it felt

but I can remember

what I didn’t



I can remember

that I didn’t feel








Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: