Star Charts

Sobonfu was an African healer

-a keeper of the rituals of Dagara—

rituals of preparing and healing

mind, body, spirit

to receive.


You went to her with my letters.


You carried my pain in envelopes and journals.


And that alone cannot reveal enough how much I love you.



You combined our written grief

and went to her, placing and meditating

at the altars. Whispering through tears for

me to find my strength. For me to heal.

For you to heal. Heal from the madness

we had endured.

Heal from the sores this world

bit into us.


You were never as afraid of the world

I felt so swallowed up in.


awkward and gangly on our bikes,

out in the woods and lost on highways,

jumping trains and night swimming.

The world was in our teeth.


You eventually took off, I’d heard.

And it was around the same time that we both

buckled and kicked under the pressure

of our lives—I in a mental ward, and you

in a spider-infested room in Naples,

having made your way

there on a cross-country trek.

We found out walls that crumble inside

having nothing to do with where you are

or how you build, but who laid the mortar.


We were both fearless,

what frightened us was ourselves.

In the dark corners across the globe from each other

facing down our hells in shacks and hospitals,

I read your elegant graffiti you wrote to me in a rush,

and I was there hovering

over your breaking heart

as you held mine.


See, you started living

from the outside in—

you grabbed that great big

old world in your arms,

squeezing it until you hugged

only yourself


and me,

I went from the inside out—

bleeding out the infection with

my own scalpels, turning the history

of my past in my hands, changing my

narrative to coding so that I might

pick it apart and rewire. So that

I might finally see I am

the deep-seeded refusal

of their script.


In your pain, you embraced mine.

You shared your journey

with someone like me–

my chest hurts as I write this.



Some kind of force out there

caught us without

our maps

and as we grow into the women

we have designed, I

believe we never lost them—our

constellations to each other.


I shall map my way in this world

in words–leaving

their imprints in the pathsdreamstime3

and valleys of story,

a constant state of spreading

the sentence so that I might see.


And you-

your heart is a clear song–the notes

carrying you across the borders

you won’t limit yourself to,

guiding you toward yourself, bending music

in the hearts of people you meet.


In your sharing,

in your making room for me

at the altars you spent yourself at-

it is that love that made our letters in your hands

charts to forgiveness.


Aboriginal Map in Song



(image by




8 thoughts on “Star Charts

  1. You carried my pain in envelopes and journals… sigh.. that is so true.. we tend to ink our pain onto the page.. leaving behind a piece of our heart and soul. Beautifully executed.


    1. thank you Kerry, it is a very rare bond she and I have–one I shall never recover from, and will constantly seek in every person I meet. What a blessing.


  2. Yes, this feels epic and intimate at the same time. Despite the pain presented here, the bond between two women is something to envy, or aspire to.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Soul sisters, twins of the spirit, vagabonds on the same bouncing bus to inside — there are some friends we only have to speak with once every ten years, so close and sure the bond. Also speaking out of healing writes a very generous poem, and that is a gift to others.

    Liked by 1 person


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