Carol Lynn Stevenson Grellas is the 2019 finalist in the Eric Hoffer Book Award with her manuscript An Ode to Hope in the Midst of Pandemonium and winner of the 2012 Red Ochre Press Chapbook contest with her manuscript Before I Go to Sleep. Her work has appeared in a wide variety of online and print magazines including The Yale Journal for Humanities in Medicine, Poets and Artists, War, Literature and the Arts and many more. She is a nine-time Pushcart Prize nominee as well as a seven-time Best of the Net nominee. She has had several collections of poetry published including On the Edge of the Ethereal, Aldrich Press and In the Making of Goodbyes, Clare Songbird Publishing House. Her book Epitaph for the Beloved, will be released later this year from Finishing Line Press. She is a member of the Saratoga Authors’ Hall of Fame and the Sacramento Poetry Center Board of Directors. According to family lore, she is a direct descendant of Robert Louis Stevenson or at least her mother says so. www.clgrellaspoetry.com
When she shares her secrets, you might judge
her for loss of time—staccato memories, recounting
calamity with the hush of a sparrow’s last breath,
her lungs emptied of prayers after a stuttering
of darkness, shadows lurking in the corner of her eyes.
Don’t worry about the scars on her skin, the long
tear of her body’s broken wing, the forever stain
of bruises on the tops of her feet, bones snapped
and butterflied, stapled back together like a robot
in a child’s toybox, there are stiches for torn flesh,
titanium plates for jagged bones, but how to give back
the unbrokenness—make her whole again?
And when she wakes at night her mind powerless
to her body’s recall, she will tell you, it’s nothing.
She will pick feathers from her pillow and try to make
a nest for sleeping. A safe place to cushion
the restlessness of unsaid pain. She isn’t quite the same,
her writing a scribble, a nervous twist of cursive,
a quill paralyzed with despair. On a bad night,
her husband will hold her still, there, there, he’ll say
and bend her tremors towards him, to the soft hollow
of his core, close her eyes, and whisper a fairy’s song
in her ear. She feels safe when he’s near. But now
and then the darkness murders her once more,
betrays her sense of calm, and a killing takes place
until she opens her eyes when she’s like a book
without a name, a handful of pages ripped
from the middle. That’s the problem
with almost dying; it keeps happening
again, and again and again.