my babies Mar 26 17
More than Words
by Ellen Evans

As victims of abuse, whether physical, emotional, or sexual—the word “target” must be branded onto our foreheads, so that only aggressors can see. During a lifetime of this damage, what held me together, bolstered and encouraged me in life was my poetry. Already from high school forward, I have signed and dated every piece, making them a journal, of sorts. And I always title them. In a way, they feel like my children, and every child must have a name.

My last encounter with abuse, encompassing every possible kind, was putting me in growing mortal danger with each passing day. With no possible access to assistance or shelters, one day, I saw the shot, and took it—just me and my car. Oh, and his cell phone (with all his numbers) and his only house key, both given to me to run an errand that called for him to rise before noon.

He was so humiliated in front of others in the ‘hood where we were living, he destroyed everything I had left behind. From my whole lifetime. I consoled myself with the fact that I was alive. The rest was just stuff. But from all that stuff, the most painful loss was my poetry. I actually grieved for it. My children, stolen. As I healed, I began rewriting the ones I could remember, albeit with current feelings written into them—kind of like the age-progressed photos of lost children on milk cartons.

Then, a few years later, they gradually began finding their way home. A folder my mom had kept, here. A binder I had given to my grandmother, there. Just last week, a mailer— a memory from a friend some forty years ago. The homecoming has been remarkable, indeed.

AUTHOR’S PHOTO CAPTION: “My babies” (3/26/2017).

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: Through all my wild, crazy, and, at times, dangerous life, my poetry has been the one constant. I could always count on it. So, when it all became lost to me, I felt orphaned. Writing this now, has been just the right time to tie it all together.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Ellen Evans lived in Israel for the 12 years prior to the first Gulf War. While there, two of her poems were translated into Hebrew, and appeared embedded in a novel. She recently has had two poems chosen for the online journal Wild Women’s Medicine Circle, and she has had six poems chosen for an anthology put out by a poetry blog site. In addition, she has had two poems chosen for the chapbook Porcupine, published by Lost Sparrow Press. She currently resides in Providence Rhode Island, where she is working on a chapbook of poems about migraines, written during migraines. The neurologist treating her has used some of the poems in a lecture.