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Hydrangeas and Orchids


Hydrangeas
By Thea Matthews

Your father left me 
for dead with soiled 
pampers and 
a scorching 
Lavender Blue
larynx on his 1960s Green carpet. 
I laid there limp 
in the 
living 
room, 
tears destined to preserve me, I cried for you; I
screamed Mommy until I passed out. Yearning  
Your presence cradled me until I was 9. 

Then at 12, 
I spoke through an eroding esophagus, 
a belly on fire from secrets, 
a compressed throat, 
a murmurous heart––  
I told you what happened.  

Silence 
befell You.  

You did what you could only do
 as the frightened, helpless abused
  little girl you are  

trapped inside an inflated body of 
comforting blubber and dark sagging skin.
You were so scared. 
Your 
lips 
shivered/  
You froze 
for the next 
10 years.

[                   ]

But you have such a loquacious tongue 
when avoiding grief.  You tested my 
unwavering love with muteness­­.
You ripped me out, pulled me up,
I was once a dutiful daughter.

Now, 
I am merely a bouquet of Hydrangeas 
Slowly languishing in the Autumn wind
stranded, without water.

But still, I love you.
Even after you 
continued to devour a 
pyramid of marshmallow coated 
roasted yams, mash potatoes, 
cranberries, seasoned stuffing, 
and slices of baked turkey
when seated sandwiched between 
me and him.

Following the family’s Thanksgiving prayer, 
bite after bite, I lost appetite
I began to purge.

Your taciturnity devalued me.
Your swollen 
tongue nearly 
broke my dignity.

But still, I love you.  

You tried to protect me­––
A woman shielding her daughter 
from catcalls and whistles. 
A woman cursing grown men 
on street corners for staring too long, 
yearning to comb her daughter’s 12-year-old curves. 

But woman, 
Your silence made you a bystander
after I said your father molested me.   

I must help you, 
never stop loving you. 

You easily feel unheard, 
you hyperventilate.
Your lungs tighten
Your voice drops. 
You talk in circles. 
I remind you to breathe.  
And although I wish I could wrest  
Your karma, 
I can’t.    

Your hair thins in loneliness and your
blood clots in worries.   
I see you. 
I forgive you. 
I hold my Truth 
regardless if you 
hold mine too.   

Orchids
By Thea Matthews

I.
Fluttery opalescent moth wings 
orbit my Light. Strong North Dakota
winds remind me to stay humbled. 
Jolted awake, 
Silence––

The stillness of Joy
Absence of incarnation 
Cessation of all desires 
awaits remembrance.   
Although my eyes saw the first sunrise, 
my heart remembers the Harvest. 
Seeds root themselves in fecund soil. 
Seeds grow in 
Silence.  

Orchids, 
equanimous and upright, 
open their fuchsia arms. 
With their subtle grin, they hum––  

Strong souls,
Rebloom.    

Never doubt your propensity 
to radiate boundless Light. 
When you see a moth, 
Spirit is near you. Stand tall. 
Erect. Illuminate
your decipherment of what is True
You are worthy of love.   

You are more than 
locked bedroom doors 
screaming into pillows
signed executive orders 
confederate lies sputtering 
“you don’t belong here.” 

Your blood fertilizes this Land. 
Our Land/ I give birth to.  

You are more than
crying on cold bathroom tile floors
policy governing uteri  
treacherous red-tie speeches 
military missiles/ drones
bullets erupting arteries
bombs bulldozing your home.  

You are more than 
clenched fists/ spray canned “die pigs” 
tear gas defiling your lungs
shattered bank windows
masked faces/ rifles, black combat
boots splitting faces on asphalt. 
More than borders 
More than skin.  

You are whole. Complete.   

 (II.)
Complete 
like impermeable heat
Feel Spirit’s long-lasting embrace
The embryonic rhythm of life
You are immortal.  

In your mind, serpents hiss––
you are hopeless, helpless, 
nothing more than the incest. 
Believe you are nothing. 
Believe you are powerless, 
wallowing in an empty riverbed
with a worn noose tied around your neck. 

But remember, Strong souls
Your tears/ shackles created by someone 
Else’s fears, flood your cavern with 
inflammable oily water. Purify. 
Keep your lungs and heart open. 
Relax your spine. Stretch 
your groin.  
Today’s march was yesterday’s frontline. 
Tomorrow is another struggle. Your faith
turns limestone to loaves of bread/ Your 

Faith walks on water. 



Thea Matthews is a Poetivist (poet + activist)/ Spoken Word Artist who frequents San Francisco’s Bay Area literary scene. Recently, one of her poems, "Protea" was published through the online feminist blog RAG QUEEN PERIODICAL (2017), and "Tempest" was featured in the anthology "Sweet Wolverine: a Collection” (2015).

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