The Refuge

by Erica B. Edwards

This place is the refuge
where with faith,
a grieving teenager sent her baby girl
lovingly down river
to rescue her from the 1980s.

To her,
this vibrant and sleepy town/
lush with green and full of fresh air/
yet unafraid of hard work/
and without pretense/
would shield her child from/
though it did not hide/
the truth waiting up the road.

This place near palaces and prestige
might give everything she could not.
But it gave nothing she could.
While the girl child,
wearing a mask she did not know she wore,
contracted and eased
contracted and eased
until she pushed herself
into the wilderness.

The errant jungle

Blindly tending wounds
she did not know she had.
Searching for a name
she did not know
she did not need.
While her mother waited for her to call
this place
what it always never was.

Even though it was

Home.

In this holy story,
though,
the miracles the girl child performed
We’re mostly silent
Revolutions
that she thought she fought alone.

But her mother
was always there.
Even when she wasn’t.
Even when she could not be
For climbing the odds stacked high against them.
Doubling down
on bad decisions
until they became good ones.

And when the girl returned
To this place

A woman

A mother herself

Dressed in all the accolades
this place bought on credit.
She realized the river baptized
The demons laying in wait.
And she was free to create
the refuge
For which her mother had prayed.