Freed

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Katherine Davis earned a Ph.D. specializing in American poetry from Duke University. Her poems have previously appeared in Weber, Stepping Stones, Wild Goose Review, Convergence, Sheila-na-gig, and The Oddville Press. After working as a writer and an editor around the U.S., she recently relocated to Alberta, Canada.

 

When the time came, I swung open my prison door.
Was it always hanging by its hinges, unlocked but closed?
I supposed the presence of jailers with brickbats, handcuffs,
Straightjackets, but I emerged into a mansion devoid of people,
Only figments of old selves languishing in corners, girls and women
I once was or mistakenly dreamed of being. Off went my dress, apron,
And corset, tainted with sweat, blood, drizzled with drool and food,
From too many years full of pills, from my trembling hands
And silent, gaping mouth. I put on sweats, ready to shape my fat
Into lean muscle, flattening belly and breasts, sharpening teeth
For vegetables, roots I went out into the garden to dig.
They cooked under my able hands, fed new energy
Into what had been a depleted system. I was back,
Desolate but free, imperfect with creases, grey, yet
Unsmiling, but I would grow into the possible, targeted
At fellow weird souls who didn’t know they had been waiting
For me, insistent voice, sensational mind and body, that won’t
Be deprived of feeling, nerves prickling both with cold and heat.

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