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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