Alone in the Castle by Mary Ardery

Issue 11

Are you lost, by the way?
It’s really hard.
I know how solitary it is, but I am here,
even after not knowing, not knowing, not knowing
other ways to be in the world.

Give time, time.
I hate rain
and like everyone else,
I don’t know why there is suffering.

If I were to truly live
it would re-open wounds
for awhile.
Hence the running.

Just between us,
I am struggling to be clean.
I am from a sick mother
and cracked sidewalks.
Nothingness. Disarray.
A locked room was my life.

The instructor said
love does not want to be rude
or throw the dinner plate
against the wall.

So find a water source:
the river, laugher and writing,
light in others around you.

Instead of numbing the hungry ghost,
free a soul to see what it can create:

trees and breeze,
molecules connecting,
small footholes, and

decisions turned good.

You may ask, “What if I could go back in time
but wouldn’t do anything differently?
What if I was a liar?”

This is what I know:
For everything I am sure of, there are more things I am unsure of.
There will be questions,
and those lullabies weren’t lullabies at all.
I’ll never forget the carcass,
but it all seems livable again.
I still get out of bed each morning.

Source & Method: This found poem was created from writing circle excerpts penned by women in wilderness therapy for substance abuse. I facilitated these writing circles during my sixteen months working as a field guide for Four Circles Recovery Center, based out of Horse Shoe, North Carolina.

Mary Ardery’s poems and photos have been published in A Midwestern Review, Manuscripts, and Eye on the World. After living and working in Asheville, NC’s Blue Ridge Mountains for two years, she has returned home to the Midwest to pursue her MFA at Southern Illinois University.