The Knight. a poem by Todd Matson

Todd Matson

The Knight

She shouldn’t be here?

Are you referring
to how she shouldn’t
have survived being born so
premature only to prematurely
lose her mom at age 4 when she had
to go live with her aunt where she was
mentally, emotionally, verbally, physically
and sexually abused by her uncle from 4 to 14,
and not for lack of trying, failed to off herself twice?

Are you alluding to how,
at 14, she shocked the doctors
and nurses by waking up in ICU after
nearly succumbing to sepsis from the coat
hanger she used to take her life into her own
hands when her aunt and uncle deprived her of
stopping her uncle’s seed from growing inside of her?

Are you suggesting
that she survived too
many overdoses, youth
detention centers, nights in
jail, nights in homeless shelters,
nights with strangers, nights on the
streets being abused, raped and beaten?

Do you mean that
when she was starving
herself to death, eating the
enamel off her teeth and eroding
her esophagus by obsessively vomiting
up her emotions with whatever she managed
to swallow and woke up again in ICU to questions
about why she was so desperately trying to waste away?

She shouldn’t be here?

It’s too late.  She is here.

She didn’t get here
without first going in circles,
getting lost countless times, without
coming to innumerable dead ends, roadblocks,
detours, ups and downs, twists and turns. She didn’t
arrive without first dying numerous times and awakening
to Narcan and defibrillators. She couldn’t have gotten here had
she not taken roads less traveled by the trolls who used and abused her.

Had she not traveled
back in time to search for those
precious parts of herself she lost so early –
the parts of herself that everyone else had given up
on, left for dead – had she not found them, accepted them,
taken them under her wing, loved them with every piece of her heart,
and traveled over a thousand miles to get here, she would have never made it.

Here she is. In this
sea of estrogen. At this
Million Women March. In DC.
She’s crying out for lawmakers to close
the boyfriend loophole for men convicted of
domestic violence, demanding equal pay for equal work,
and politely inviting the old men in the halls of congress who’d
never vote to deny themselves Viagra to stop trying to control her body.

She has a semicolon
tattoo on her right shoulder
because thanks to the semicolon,
people, like sentences, don’t have to come
to an end; they can continue on. She has a Simba
tattoo on her left shoulder with the words, “Remember
Who You Are.” She has refashioned the tiny teardrop tattoo
under her right eye into a four-leaf clover. Her hair is the color of fire.

After so long, you have come now to her rescue? 

There she is.

She is the one
holding the sign
over her head with
no bend in her elbows:
“I’m not your damsel in distress.
I’m the knight. I’m here to save myself.”

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Todd Matson is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist in North Carolina, United States.  His poetry has been published in The Journal of Pastoral Care and Counseling, Soul-Lit: A Journal of Spiritual Poetry and Bluepepper, and his short stories have been published in Ariel Chart International Literary Journal, Faith, Hope and Fiction, and Children, Churches and Daddies.  He has also written lyrics for songs recorded by various contemporary Christian music artists, including Brent Lamb, Connie Scott and The Gaither Vocal Band.

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Published by darcie friesen hossack

Darcie Friesen Hossack is a graduate of the Humber School for Writers. Her short story collection, Mennonites Don’t Dance, was a runner-up for the Danuta Gleed Award, shortlisted for the Commonwealth Writers Prize and the Ontario Library Association's Forest of Reading Evergreen Award for Adult Fiction. Citing irreverence, the book was banned by the LaCrete Public Library in Northern Alberta. Having mentored with Giller finalists Sandra Birdsell (The Russlander) and Gail Anderson Dargatz (Spawning Grounds, The Cure for Death by Lightening), Darcie's first novel, Stillwater, will be released in the spring of 2023. Darcie is also a four time judge of the Whistler Independent Book Awards, and a career food writer. She lives in Northern Alberta, Canada, with her husband, international award-winning chef, Dean Hossack.

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