She Says – by Ronda Miller

rondashe doesn’t dream.
Each afternoon I ask, hopeful,
she as despondent as I by her response.
“Not of ponies, a unicorn, white kittens?” I ply.
She shakes her head side to side.
Full lips whisper, “No,” so quietly that I’m lip reading.

During the day, she shares her tears,
tells me how badly she misses her mom
who lives behind bars.
Her older brother, who has
somehow transformed into her
baby brother, she cries for him too.
They have different fathers.
His came for him, hers has not.

Today I decide to change things.
I don’t ask her if she had a dream, I know she did.
I know she does every afternoon and night.
They are nightmares, filled with a loss so dark
they can’t be shared in light of day,
can’t be spoken, can not be remembered.
They are felt so far inside there are no words to share.

I sit beside her, rub her back.
her dark eyes open, flutter shut, reopen.
“Let me tell you about your dream,” I say.
“You were riding a rainbow unicorn
with a fuzzy white kitten in your pocket.
She kept peeking her big bright blue eyes
out to tell you where to go.
You went all the way to the moon and back.
I saw you there myself.”
Her face relaxes, and she smiles.

~ Ronda Miller

Poet Ronda Miller enjoys wandering the high plateau of NW Kansas where the Arikaree Breaks whisper late into the sunset and scream into blizzards and thunderstorms. She lives in Lawrence close to her son and daughter. She is a district president and state vice president for Kansas Authors Club. She is a life coach specializing in working with those who have lost someone to homicide. She dances every chance she gets. She has poetry in numerous online and hard copy publications that include the Smithsonian Institute. Two books of poetry include Going Home: Poems from My Life and MoonStain (Meadowlark Books, May 2015).

Guest Editor Z. Hall is a poet whose work features ekphrasis, and explores race, gender, and culture. She is an essayist and has served as a PEN Prison Writing Mentor. She is currently a writer-in-residence at the Charlotte Street Foundation. As an art writer and scholar, her peer-reviewed publications include works on Beyoncé and Jay Z’s ‘Drunk in Love,’ the field recordings of Stephen Wade’s “The Beautiful Music All Around Us,” emergence of the Christian film industry in Lindvall and Quicke’s “Celluloid Sermons,” and the political cartoons of the 2005 Muhammad Cartoon Controversy as rhetorical art, among other works. Hall is the Executive Director and Producer of Salon~360, a monthly, Kansas City regional event that brings together artists whose work focuses on challenging societal issues, for which she was awarded an ArtsKC Inspiration Grant.

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