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Friday, October 02, 2020


by Joan Mazza

If you were raised by and/or married to an abuser,
I know you are suffering tonight. I see you. I feel you.
We are going to rise up and take the mf down.
      —Pam Houston, public Facebook post, Sept. 29, 2020

Didn’t watch, didn’t listen. I went to bed early,
held on to the clarity earned by a day of writing,
reading, an online poetry class. I drank a lot

of water, pondered what I’ll eat for my next meal,
folded clean sheets, made notes for poems. I wasn’t
online during the chaos and shouting, refuse to expose

myself to a bully’s tactics of distraction and lies—
dominance devices with attacks on the other’s
character that show the lack of dignity and inability

to reason. In the morning, I watch one clip before
I’m fully awake, read Facebook full of horror
at this clown of hokum who signals to racists, white

supremacists, and the Proud Boys to be ready to foment
a civil war. Sometimes it takes only one morsel of food
to know it’s poison. Sometimes one sentence makes you

back away and lock the doors of your heart and head. 
In peace and security, ten days ago I voted.

Joan Mazza has worked as a medical microbiologist and psychotherapist, and has taught workshops nationally with a focus on understanding dreams and nightmares. She is the author of six books, including Dreaming Your Real Self (Penguin/Putnam), and her poetry appears in Rattle, Valparaiso Poetry Review, Prairie SchoonerThe MacGuffin, and The Nation. She lives and isolates in rural central Virginia.