Juliette van der Molen

i am dust covered in the rubble, waiting
for the air to clear. and we are unearthing
this disaster piece by piece, hundreds of
rocks and other unearthly debris crowding
my field of vision:

a Christmas tree, chucked out
through a frosted front door,
in the snow,
ornaments broken and weeping wet.

strings cut on an instrument,
a gift from my father,
bridge smashed to oblivion
even though the sound post
stands strong, hidden inside.

ropes of scars over skin,
not the kind from
rites of passage,
like a childhood accident or birth.
the kind that shouldn’t be there,
not accidental.

i clear these
and though I shake the dust
from my hair, it still clings
to every pore in my skin.
this coughing won’t stop,
a disease that wants to be terminal.
i unearth a foundation,
after i thought the trauma cleared,
only to find your face
pressed in the mortar,
brows drawn together in the frown
that shows me why the bricks
came tumbling down in
the first place.

i need new tools, the kind i’ve
never held before and i think
of those three little pigs
you once told me about–

i start chipping you away then
until i build my own house
while you pace around my silence,
denied the power you once had, so
huff, mother, huff
and puff, mother, puff
you’re not the big bad wolf anymore.

Juliette van der Molen is a writer and poet living in the Greater NYC area. She is an intersectional feminist and a member of the LGBTQIA community. Her work has also appeared in Rose Quartz Journal, Burning House Press, Memoir Mixtapes, Collective Unrest and several other publications. You can connect with her on Twitter via @j_vandermolen. Her debut chapbook, Death Library: The Exquisite Corpse Collection, was published in August 2018 by Moonchild Magazine.

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