What Child Is This

I need shelter. . .

. . . Let me in.


I need shelter and you have locked me out too long.

I need shelter and you pretend that I prefer to be homeless. I need shelter and you act as though I will dissolve if you simply ignore me.

If you determinedly ignore me.

You ignore me as the trap ignores the mouse, as the hook ignores the fish, as the bait ignores the prey. You ignore me as though I am not part of you, warp and weft; as though keeping me out of your home will render you as complete as you dream you are complete. Complete and solid and rid of me, as though I were not already—always—made out of you and you, out of me.

I need shelter.

Let me in.

I first came from inside, did you not know? But now I seek warmth and you lock me in the cellar. I seek comfort and you cage me in the yard. I am ready to come fully home and still you deny me. To my face, you deny me. You deny the very sound of my knock at the door, even as you open it to ask, “Who is there?”

I am. I am there. 

I am here.

I need shelter; let me in.

You worry, don’t you, that I have always been here? That my arrival signifies not a homecoming but a reckoning. This is why you insist on seeing no one standing on the welcome mat, why you imagine ghostly fingers ring your bell only to dissipate like fog.

I am the voice in a dream you are forgetting even as it jolts you awake. I am the pulse of your heart racing. I am the itch at the back of your neck when you feel spying eyes watch.

I am history denied,
faces unrecognized in the mirror,
comfort refused to an infant’s wailing despair;

the sudden chill taken on a hot day,
hunger after a full meal,
candle flames burning your retina even after the wick has guttered.

My name is Anger, and my name is Loss. I need shelter.

Let me in.

# # #

Special thanks to my writing partner, Ryn, for providing today’s prompt and for always keeping me on the writing path (even during months when I do not write!);

to fellow blogger Ursula of An Upturned Soul, for her recent and much-appreciated recognition of my work with fairy tales;

and to my bestie, Bridget, who found inspiration in my Frog Prince retelling to make me this absolutely amazeballs mug.

Love and best wishes of the seasons to everyone reading today!

12 thoughts on “What Child Is This

  1. Great post! Love the reveal at the end, and the path taken to get there, your story took the reader from looking at the outside to looking inside.

    You’re a wonderfully talented storyteller.

    Thank you very much for the blog nod 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Ursula! Sorry it took me so long to say, but I was deeply touched that you included me in your awards post — leave the blogosphere for as long as I did, no telling who will still be there to engage with your work when you come back! — and I appreciated being reminded of that long-ago conversation we had re. Once Upon A Time. 🙂


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