A tiny old house with a sloping roof, 

A stained mattress in a shabby room, 

All restlessness and rebellion. 

A promise of attention, when I felt like I was drowning.  

The Mermaid who forgot how to swim. 


I replaced old chains for new. 

No candlelight and roses, 

I traded my independence for sweet corn and scrambled eggs, 

On a quest for self-obliteration, 

To lose myself in the detritus of his life, 

Surrounded by guns and garbage, 

 My own personal purgatory. 


Slipping on new boots like a second skin 

Transformation from culture to country, 

To be reborn into your tribe, 

Seeking acceptance in barren ground.  


A goddess begot from a cornfield.   

Fooled into believing a fallacy.  

The husk of my former self 

cast-off, only shiny new fruit, budding  

With promise.  Ishtar in the Underworld, 

My re-birth forthcoming, but not finished.  


I forgot, oh how I was mistaken, 

Heroines are products of hardships.  

A blood oath from my heart and body, 

An intimate pain, I believed 

the lie that I would wake. Transformed. 

Out of a bed of deceit and patriarchal delusions. 


Surrendered to fists and dogma, 

Always the good girl.  

Slipping out of my true identity,  

Like fog disappears in the daylight. 

Rewritten by the church,  

Mothers, and the religion I had clung to. 

Accepting the answers of biased advisors.   


Dusty country roads led to despair, 

Like the chickens he forced into battle,  

He tried to dominate my existence, 

Violence as a reward and a warning.  

I sought deliverance in a dead end.  

No mercy when aggression comes standard.   


I sacrificed myself 

For the myth of the good wife, 

Rewarded only with shame and shackles. 

No pearls and Proverbs, 

Three years lost in a broken home,  

Until nothing of me remained.    

It took me a long time to learn 

even hardship is a gift. 

And the fire I passed through, 

Forged the steel of my spine. 

And I became the plow, 

Reaping the rotten fields.  


Kelly Marie McDonough is a two-time cancer survivor, avid reader, and makeup enthusiast.  She is working on building her poetry portfolio and is influenced by Poe and Anne Sexton.  Murder, madness, and literary references are her passion. She is a writer and part-time student at Southern New Hampshire University and works customer service for a call center. She lives in Illinois with her supportive husband and their four mischievous cats. Her poetry will be published in the upcoming winter issues of The Bitchin' Kitsch, Poetically Mag and The Magazine. 


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