Wildling Child-Our Lady of Lust and Grace

This spectacular piece resonated so deep within me.  I have lived in this house.  I have been this wilding child.  Thank you Nicole Lyons for bringing it to my attention.  Please click on the Wilding Child link below to read the whole piece.


I went digging around in my dark place. I had to. If I remember it exists it makes the bright brighter and the happy happier. If I say it out loud it makes other people feel less alone. If you can …

Source: Wildling Child



The word reverberates in my mind

I’m not really offended about being called strident

I’ve been called worse

Believe me

Bitch and I are old, old friends

Fucking dyke doesn’t even raise my eyebrow anymore

My grandmother used to call me hard-headed with affection

At least

I think that was affection

Strong Personality

Came up once or twice in grad school

Well, maybe more than once or twice

I guess my classmates didn’t know many women’s college graduates

I just think its fascinating that the English language

Contains a derogatory word

Used almost exclusively

To refer women who loudly tell their truth


© 2017 Christine Elizabeth Ray – All rights Reserved

Phoenix Rising

What lies at the heart of this woman?

Surprise myself sometimes

at all I have hidden

from others

from myself

Each day brings me closer to stripped down truth


I can almost touch what lies at my core

it singes my fingertips

scorches the air I breathe

Steely strength

aching vulnerability

fierce independence

voracious hunger










The cracks widen

on the lead coffin

where I bury my true self

leather straps holding back all I suppress fraying

close to the breaking point


is rising


© 2017 Christine Elizabeth Ray – All rights Reserved




Illusions of Grandeur

scrubbed free of pretense

my face

my soul

left raw


fine lines radiate out

create delicate starburst pattern

like stone hitting thin ice

bullet penetrating glass

illusion of integrity maintained

until the lightest touch

in the most vulnerable place

shatters me into beautiful shards

that refract prismacolor light onto




Am I Already Gone?

in my deepest dark corners

worry chews at my belly

I fear that I have already

given in

to complacency

unconsciously surrendered

to ordinary

forgotten my fire

my light

let my beautiful



blow away in the wind

torn up pieces of paper

always just out of my reach


© 2017 Christine Elizabeth Ray – All rights Reserved

The Shaping of Clay

There are days

and nights

where the only thing keeping me

from sliding completely

into the abyss

from dissolving

into something



is your skin

against my skin

your mouth

against my mouth

Grounding me

Calling me home


When the knowledge

of where I begin

and end

starts to slip away from me

your body remembers

who I am

Your hands



the shape of me

The essence of me

The essence of us

How we fit together


It is fortunate for me

during this long darkness

that you are here

to guide me back

to where we live

To remake me

piece by

fragmented piece

when I have lost

the shape of myself

And that you have been

willing to do this

over and over again


© 2017 Christine Elizabeth Ray – All rights Reserved

Pandora’s Box (revisited)

Not sure I went to bed

same woman I woke up

An act of boldness


Put your big girl pants on

led to opening

Pandora’s box

old battered Whitman sampler tin

holding flotsam and jetsam

of absent father’s life


Thought I was prepared

for the truths it held

hand written letters

ghosts calling from the past

clues to a puzzle

Was his madness

my madness?

Does my poet soul

vibrate with his?

Three generation inheritance



poetic passion

trying to glean

understanding of nature vs nurture


Humble tin

held no answers

Pandora’s box

revealed a man-child

Scrawl eerily similar

to mine


I discover that the few truths

thought I had been entrusted with

about my parents

about our family

were fantasy


refuted by an unexpected voice from their past


Were these lies


told to protect me

his memory


No objective truth

to be sought

No case to put

a detective on

Only players able

to provide insight



I am left alone

in wee hours

to sort through wreckage

Left to reconcile

who I thought they were

who I thought we were

with the stunning contents

of Pandora’s box


© 2017 Christine Elizabeth Ray – All rights Reserved


Jigsaw Puzzle Reimagined Take 2

Glimpses of me

in the mist

shift like a kaleidoscope

before I retreat 

into shadow


My constant motion

never allowing

panoramic images

to be revealed

You see only




Each its own truth

lacking cohesion


Multiple jigsaw puzzle

versions of me

packed into a single box

Shaken violently



contents tossed high into the air

left to fall where they might

leaving me to

glean new patterns

soothsayer reading the bones


Who am I now?

Calm, nurturing earth mother

Teasing big sister

Boon companion and friend

Dark dangerous woman singing her siren song

Deepest soul mate

Vulnerable woman-child

with the trembling, bleeding heart

huddled in the corner

afraid to move in any direction?


Am I all of the above?

None of these?



lacking insight

Am I looking for wholeness


in the eye of a beholder?


I crawl on hard tile floor

sift through wreckage

begin to reassemble the

puzzle that is me

No box cover artwork

for reference

afraid of what

might emerge


© 2017 Christine Elizabeth Ray – All rights Reserved


Our closets no longer full of mourning clothes

we instead honor our dead on printed tees

car decals

tattoo our losses on tender skin

create public memorials with

bouquets of flowers

quilt squares


framed photographs

stuffed animals

too many lost

far too young


I would ink the names of my dead

on my forearms in black

but the list is too long to fit

not all the lights extinguished

bestowed a name

I suppose Dot has a certain gallows humor

certainly more poetic than

ball-of-cells-that-my- body-deemed-too-flawed-for-survival

and expelled in a bloody rush


What does it mean to be a motherless child

when you over 20?

Are you still a father when you have never held

your living child?

Do you stop being a sister

when you are last one left standing?

I find my native tongue inadequate

to speak the true language of loss

where parts of identity break off

from our continent

drift off in crimson tides.


© 2017 Christine Elizabeth Ray – All rights Reserved