What Lies Beneath


What Lies Beneath



she is 10 years old when she is told

“your sister doesn’t live here anymore”

without explanations, no questions allowed,

she strains to hear something

beyond the silence and falters –

like the rogue wave that 

churned her into a deep tidepool -

where seconds felt like minutes

as she lost all sense of up or down

until she finally surged to light and breath.


finding a niche within herself,

she caches the worry stone of what is broken

and wonders if the missing piece

is longing to be found or happy to be lost.


childhood years are forfeit

as she tries to smooth the wrinkles

of a family gone awry,

irons the laundry,

dusts the furniture to white glove standard,

aligns the silverware to the napkin -

and remembers to smile

for the good child might not be discarded.


the mystery haunts the hallways

as the old house creaks and settles into night.


a bower of elm branches fills her view

from the third story dormer window –

a sanctuary in the deepest night.

While the household sleeps

it is safe to be real here.

Carefully folding her costume for the day

her feathers emerge – resplendent –

to wing her away.


 Barbara Parchim


Barbara Parchim lives on a small farm in southwest Oregon that was originally homesteaded in the late 1800’s.   Retired from social work, she volunteered for many years at a wildlife rehabilitation and education facility caring for raptors and wolves.   She enjoys gardening, wilderness hiking and spending time with her dogs.   Her poems have appeared (or are forthcoming) in Cobra Lily, the Jefferson Journal, Turtle Island Quarterly and Windfall.


  1. There's an elegance missing in some of the poetry published today. This poem makes up for those in spades. Classy and sassy. Like my women.

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