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  • Mikayla Ricks

empathy for the moonlight. | poem


Gothic photo of forest
photo by Mikayla Ricks

The moon kissed my Mother,

and the wind ran through her hair.

I felt it all breathing, buzzing --

the trees coming together, an affair

to wrap their limbs around her small body.


The moonlight danced and sang her praises of love,

for having tasted the lips of purity --

something left behind by the old gods

in their era of mutiny.


The clouds were mountains,

her dance floor, her terrain.

They hid the monsters in the sky and

sometimes, down came the rain

pouring showers that could fill lakes --

a graveyard for tears. seeds of generational pain.


I reached up towards where the sky and the heavens met,

plucked from the cotton candy mountains --

right from the root, where my ancestors laid at rest --

swallowed the rains, devouring their pain,

ate every last bit and wondered why it wasn't sweet.


It was bitter. Not at all what I imagined

when I laid under broken tree limbs and scattered leaves.

Lightning flashes of childhood love left abandoned,

hidden from the moonglow, and left cold to the breeze.


I cursed the sky for being a mirror to my insides.

In this reflection, I saw them -- my Mother and hers before;

I saw my Father, menacing, shaping the rain into tides

The blue turned to grey and the rain became my origins -- my lore.


They’ve long stopped fighting;

thrashing about, no longer able to fly.

But I am dancing in the middle of the moonlit storm,

a bird against the wind, learning to dance, and refusing to die.


- x -


This poem took me over a year to complete. This was one of those pieces that came to me blindly and was mostly finished five minutes after I picked up the pen, but polishing it took time. I didn't know where I was going with it; I didn't even understand the meaning behind what I'd written until a few months ago.


As it turns out, this poem is about healing generational trauma dealt to the women in my family. My mother, my sister, my grandmothers, my aunts, and all those that have had to survive dangerous men and endured.


I wrote this because I refuse to carry the same burden in my own life. I get judged for many things in my life because I'm nothing society expects of a woman my age: I'm not a mother, nor have I ever been in a position to where that would even be possible. I'm not complacent to the abusive behavior within my family. I'm a college drop out. I know my self-worth.


I am myself -- whole. And that's a real issue for a society that thrives and profits off of women's insecurities.


Empathy for the Moonlight is about healing my ancestral Mothers by taking care of myself, loving who I am, and never putting myself in a position where I am not the most important person in my life. It's by building a foundation so solid that I don't need to rely on anyone's money, love, or shelter.


I may be a late bloomer, but I'm still blooming.

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