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1.
She hunts ghosts through sheer will strong and poised with piercing skill. As they strike she rides high and the only sound is her battlecry. Wounded now she cleans her sword and wipes her flesh of the pain endured. Then she rides to her post And waits for signs of another ghost.
2.
She’s not a coward and because of that, she was beaten with cold stares, with vacuous laughter and barren eyes until she hid away. She finally submitted to what the world seemed to want from her to hide in dark corners and wait in chains for someone to serve. And make herself scarce. And anything that makes her feel human makes her feel ashamed, because no one should ever know that she breathes and eats and loves. And no one should ever know how much she wants to be loved.
3.
She wanted to be seen, but so did everyone else. She needed to be held, but that’s what everyone else needed, too. She got lost in her mind, stuck in her own shattered grief, because she was too scared to ask for the things that she needed, too. Did it even matter that she felt things, if everyone else felt them, too? Now, she clutches the shards of a broken mirror, and she tries to keep them close to remember how fragile we are. How strange to feel so much connection in isolation, so much love for the things that were shattered. Now all she wants is to hold people close. All she wants is to hold people close. All she needs is to hold people close.
4.
Mother Hen 02:43
The mother hen, she stands her ground when the others sleep and would be drowned, with vigilance and wisdom for what lies ahead, what came before. Somebody needs to be charged with their care. If not her, then who? She fusses over everything to keep them all from floundering. She’s never known a safer boat than what she built herself to float. Somebody needs to be charged with their care. If not her, then who? With anxious fists, she shepherds them, their guardian, their mother hen, because someone has to make it through to till the ground they never knew.
5.
In the light and through the night she dances by the fire, her fortitude the choir that keeps the music long, the fire strong. It’s not that she can’t see the things the world can be. Others see her dancing without cause and it makes them stop to pause and wonder why she sings. What does it bring? The music never lasts. What sadness joy forecasts. And so they douse out the light. Fires die but flames ignite and even though she’s drenched her song she won’t forget and so she dances on and sings her song, her joy a primal cry, the fire in her eye. And when the fire burns, the flames ignite. And so she dances on, her fortitude the song that keeps the music bright, the fire light. It’s not that she can’t see the things the world can be.
6.
She crawls into her dark and empty den and hides inside her solitude again. She licks her wounds and growls at you in fear. She’ll bare her teeth at anyone who dares comes near. She stalks herself and pounces on her prey whenever anyone tries asking what she wants to say. She licks her wounds and growls at you in fear and then she bares her teeth at anyone who sees her here. She crawls into her dark and empty den again, her cries for help echoing off the walls that she pretends aren’t there. But when she bares her teeth she’s in her lair. Then she wonders why nobody cares.
7.
She’s not fit to be seen And no one’s ever looked at her She won’t even show herself fully to me I feel pieces of her Rising up to my chest Seeping into my eyes She's a ghost making herself known How can I let myself look at her Her missing limbs still dripping blood that courses through my veins And threatens to flood me How I want her to flood me Who will see me if she floods me? Who will look at me? Who will I be when she floods me? Who will look for me?

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released January 12, 2020

Artwork by Nataly Ortega-Sommerlad

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Heather Sommerlad Guilford, Vermont

Heather Sommerlad is a writer, musician, and educator in Guilford, Vermont. Her background in classical music, coupled with her Mexican heritage, is the foundation upon which these inventive compositions break from traditional song form.

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