I have led many interesting lifetimes

Different cities

Different jobs

Different lovers

Different friends


Some of these lifetimes

Unbeknownst to me then

Were only brief rest stops

Before moving on

I have always left

Too easily I think

Never as sentimental

As I feel like I should be


Other lifetimes

I have inhabited for long stretches of time

Settling in, trying them on for size

Wearing them like a second skin

Always all in

Until I am not


I have been many different women

I have been electric, extreme teens

Sexy and seventeen

In a hurry to be grown

To be gone

From the too-small, too-conventional

Hometown where I never belonged


I have been bold reinvented twenties

Sure that I knew everything

Ready to take on the world

Heart-broken new graduate

In Boston, three jobs

Futon on the floor, clothes in milk crates

Love letters never sent

My whole life

Fitting in a minivan

Graduate student in a new city

Stunned to find herself

Homesick for the first time


I have been young mother thirties

Losing my mother

Losing my grandmother

Losing myself

While trying to feel my way

Through the maze of sleep deprived

Motherhood, too many roles

Pierced my nose

To try to come back to me


I have been second marriage forties

Constant low level feelings of guilt

Trying to renegotiate

What it means to be family

New husband, new home, new friends

Learning oh-so-painfully that teenagers

Still need their mothers

But their problems are bigger

The stakes so much higher

Parenthood reinventing the word

Anxiety for me many times over


I have recently embarked

On re-evaluating fifties

Looking myself hard in the eye

I struggle to remember who I was

I do not want to be water running through

My own fingers

Disappearing into the ground

I work to bring back the fire in my eyes

Find the woman who used to be mine


On a whim

I put pen to paper

Speak words of truth

Remember that I have a soul

That I have a heart

That I have a voice

That I weep tears of blood

Iron and salt


A trickle of words becomes a roar

A revelation

An explosion

A home coming to me

I didn’t know what had been beneath

My deceptively calm surface

Always simmering, alert

Waiting, a deep hot spring

Of experience, passion

Ache, anguish, longing

Oh the longing. . .


I am terrified

Unsteady, off balance

And I have never felt so alive


© 2017 Christine Elizabeth Ray – All rights Reserved


  1. The Caterpillar asked Alice, “Who are you?” Had she been older and come (perhaps again) to Wonderland, she might have answered, “You would do better to ask who I have been.”

    I still have clothes in milk crates. There have been a lot of moves, but the futon is up of the floor.

    Liked by 1 person

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