When did I become
just the sum of my body,
my breasts, bum and legs?

I grew up hearing,
“Cover up, respect yourself.”
Sexualized me.

I grew up hearing,
“That shirt is too revealing,
that skirt far too short.”

My body caused lust,
I was as sinful as Eve,
tempting every man.

I started to hear,
“It’s normal to sleep around”
on the radio.

I started to hear,
“Sex is how we define you,
by who you are with.”

“You should be this girl,
This liberated woman,
a smold’ring temptress.”

Both sides worship sex,
I’m just another body
for viewing pleasure.

Both say I’m the sum
of long hairless, curving legs
and a flat tummy.

Both sides demean me,
Deny the rest of myself.
They see just body.

I am more than this!
There’s a person inside me,
more than a body.


Two Types of Women

Two types of women
Walk the streets of Rome
First- the Madonna
And second the Magdalene.

Pure and virginal
the Madonna walks,
the untouchable
most beloved mother.

Not the Magdalene-
a whore, a mistress,
used and set aside
trying only to live.

You, my friend, and I
are these two women.
You- the Magdalene,
and me- the Madonna.

We once were dear friends
Little girls playing.
But our paths parted
along a painful fork.

Never do I speak
the hurtful things said
of you and your life.
I remember that time.

I was his beloved,
you were his mistress.
Do you remember
the cuts that ran so deep?

They say it’s better
to be Madonna,
to be so holy.
They don’t know the true cost.

I lost a dear friend,
but gained my freedom.
We called it even,
went our separate ways.

You lost on that deal,
but don’t you worry,
even Magdalenes
Are redeemed from the dark.

You satisfy him,
at what cost to you?
Dignity and good name?

He’s breaking you down,
you just hold a place.
He won’t marry you.
He’s not trying for you.

I watch from outside,
with concern for you.
You can’t break my heart
I worry just just for you.

I have been worshiped,
by him and others.
I am not sinless,
I have not holiness.

You try to be me,
long for his worship,
for any effort.
You still strive to be me.

Why do you try so?
You cannot be me.
You are beautiful,
A woman of your own.

How my heart aches, dear,
to see you like this.
You have a story
a voice of redemption.

I may be righteous,
never walked away.
My tale is not yours.
Why not tell your own tale?

I am just human,
a searching soul, too.
Spread your wings and fly.
Redemption is gripping.

Mio sorella,
how I have missed you.
Mio sorella,
where do we go from here?

Two types of women
walk the street to home.
I- the Madonna,
and you- the Magdalene


Nameless Story III Chapter 3

His card stayed where he had left it until several days after Julie’s funeral, when I helped Lizzy clean the library. She picked it up and looked curiously at it, reading the name several time through.

“What’s this doing here?” she asked me, offering the card to me. I took it and glanced down at it.

“Andre Bourbon? I don’t think that Papa associates with journalists,” I said, turning it over.

“You could ask your father, perhaps?” Lizzy suggested.

“No,” I said. Papa had shut himself up in his room, rarely emerging. Lizzy and I had taken turns bringing him trays, but even he hardly at what we brought him. It was then that I remembered. “It’s the motorist’s card.”

“Why’d he leave it?” Lizzy asked, turning away to finish her dusting.

“He offered his assistance, should we need it,” I said, sliding the card into my apron pocket. Later I would put it with my father’s other cards.


Thomas Letter~~~

“Samantha,” Henry said after we had finished our supper one evening. “Father received a letter concerning you earlier this evening.”

“What about me?” I asked, clearing the table. After the expenses of Julie’s funeral, we had to let go of our evening maid, which meant that Lizzy and I were trying to fill her place.

“Thomas Cook wanted to maintain correspondence with you while he’s working abroad,” Henry said. “Because he intends to pay you court when mourning ends.”

“And what does father think of this?” I asked calmly, pausing.

“Papa hasn’t seen the letter yet. Nor will he,” Henry said. “I’ve been handling his personal correspondence.”

“What?” I asked, surprised. “But, Henry-”

“Samantha, he wasn’t responding to them,” Henry said. “Good lord, have you seen the man, Sammy? He sits catatonic on the edge of his bed. His guilt is eating him alive from the inside out.”

“So you’re reading and answering his mail? It’s not as if he’s dead, Henry!”

“But it’s also not as if he’s in his right mind, Sam,” he retorted. “Now, back to Thomas. Should I give him permission to write you?”

“Do what you like, Henry,” I said, gathering my load and heading out to the kitchen with our empty dishes. I had just set them down on the counter when I heard a Lizzy shriek and a crash from upstairs.

“Lizzy, is everything alright?” Henry called, and I heard him thunder up the stairs. Terrified, I raced to follow him upstairs.

“Mr. Hancock!” Lizzy was blubbering uncontrollably. She stood outside the door to father’s room, sobbing hysterically. “I went in to bring him his supper and I found him like that!” Henry burst into the bedroom and I moved to follow him as Lizzy grabbed onto my arm, holding me in place.

“Miss, you can’t go in there!” she exclaimed. “It’s too horrible. No one should ever see that.”

“Oh God,” Henry said. “Papa! Papa! No, no, no!” He reappeared in the doorway, a sickened look on his face. “Lizzy, take Sam downstairs. Now!”

“What happened, Henry?” I asked, a sick feeling forming in my gut. “What’s happened?”

“Come this way, Miss Samantha,” Lizzy said, pulling on my sleeve. “You don’t want to see.”

“See what?” I asked, trying to jerk away from Lizzy, who only held me tighter. “What happened?” I asked again, desperately.

“Don’t struggle now, Miss,” Lizzy said, wrapping me in a hug, holding me back.

“Just go downstairs, Samantha!” Henry shouted at me as he returned to our father’s room. “Go now!”

I struggled with Lizzy for a few moments before I finally broke free, and I vaulted to the doorway, where I froze. A cord hung from the ceiling, and from it my father was dangling.

“No! Daddy!” I screamed, stumbling back. I tripped on the hemline of my skirts and landed at Lizzy’s feet. “Papa! No! Why? Why?”

The tears came unbidden, and I started to cry. My world felt like it was slipping away, one person at a time.

“Oh, Sammy, I’m sorry. You shouldn’t have seen this,” Henry said gently, kneeling beside me. “I didn’t want you to see that.” He wrapped his arms around me, and I cuddled into him.

“Why’d he have to-?” I asked quietly. “Why couldn’t he have stayed?”

“I’m sorry, Sammy,” he replied. “But I don’t know. Now will you go downstairs with Lizzy, and she can make you a nice cup of tea? I’ll clean this up, and then we can discuss father’s wishes.”

“Come along, Miss Samantha,” Lizzy said gently, lifting me to my feet. “Come on downstairs, miss.”


Henry’s Journal

Wednesday 18 November, 1893

I’m getting concerned about Sammy. We had Father’s funeral three nights ago, and cremated him out beyond city limits, like we do for all suicides. But Sam- she just sits and stares into space. Rarely does she respond to anyone speaking to her, and Lizzy is doing all she can to make her eat. It’s like a part of Sam died with our father.

On another note, I have finally begun to going through the recent records of the shop. Father didn’t tell us, but his manager has revealed that we are greatly in debt. I believe this is due to poor management of the shop while Father was in mourning- Mr. Williamson is fond of taking risks with the finances entrusted him, which Father would have never approved of.

I don’t know what I can do for Sammy. I need to provide for her, but I’m afraid the monies Papa had set aside for her dowry were lost in the poor investments made. I can only hope that I can earn it back, and it won’t hurt her prospects. Maybe Thomas will take her even with a small dowry because of our friendship. At least I have a year to find a way to fix this.


Andres Letter 1


Facing Fear

I receive writing prompts via email. One of these was to write a poem or short story where you confront a fear. This poem is a discussion between the narrator and her fear, doubt and loneliness.

I want to be loved by all,
I want to always feel loved.

That’s not really possible,
You just can’t please everyone.

I don’t need to please them all,
Just those that are important.

And who’s important to you?
Who are you trying to serve?

My friends and family,
My sweetheart, my beloved.

Who are your friends, and why them?
Why surround yourself with them?

They are those I can laugh with,
Those I have common ground with.

Is that all that makes a friend?
Does that make them trustworthy?

Time reveals one’s character.
Time reveals what can be shared.

You are naive to trust them,
Based on time and common fun.

Maybe, but I want to trust.
I want to believe the best.

You deserve to be alone,
If you think they won’t use you.

I try to be good enough,
To be loyal and caring.

They’ll take advantage of you,
Take everything you offer.

They can have everything left,
If they will stay here, with me.

You’re pathetic, you know that?
You’re so dependent on them.

People shouldn’t be alone.
I don’t want to be alone.

It’s not that simple, you know.
You will have to be alone.

Physically I’ve been alone,
That’s not when I have problems.

You cannot count on others
To fulfill your happiness.

I don’t expect that at all,
I don’t like being lonely.

You can’t depend on others
To fulfill your sense of self.
You need to be strong enough
To be yourself, regardless.

I can’t be anyone else,
I am always just myself.

You are not comfortable
With yourself, not strong enough.

I’m comfortable with me,
I’m strong enough to be me.

Then prove it. Prove it to me.
Prove it to yourself, right now.

I am strong enough, as me.
I will be okay alone.
My worth is not dependent
On anyone but myself.