adversity · Family · poetry · relationships · writing


Sold my soul for union –
destruction built-in

Narcissism is a bastard
luxuriates in self-catering

Did not anticipate loss –
innocence slaughtered

Force to grow sensibility
don a tough shell –

Would not let betrayal
call me by name.

It was not meandering
that shredded my heart

but the loss of a child
caught in the crossfire

too young to discern
parental alienation.

(Image from personal collection.)

adversity · culture · Family · mental-health · poetry · relationships · writing

The Pawn

Of course she is away
caught in the schism
of her parents’ divorce
played like a pawn

She is emotionally numb
incapable of articulating
wants and desires – broken
though no one notices.

(Poem originally appeared on Twitter.  Visit me @Vjknutson.  Image from personal collection.)

poetry · relationships · women's issues · writing

Window Cleaning

Married addiction
adopted denial
settled for basics

Espoused spirituality
ignored infidelity,
pulled down the blinds.

Believed compassion
could compensate
for indifference.

Limited my outlook
to windows, too insecure
to de-smudge the pane.

Missed the gaping doorways,
the blatant rudeness
of belligerent disrespect

Till withdrawal prompted
accountability, commanded
ownership, changed the lock.

(Image from personal collection.)


He’s Gone

In darkened room
I lie, willing blackness
to obliterate blackness.

A scream, unearthed
from dankness
shatters the silence,
echoes off heartless walls,

shock waves reverberate
relentless torment

seventeen years…
committed, no…

ripped away

leaving me


I fall, spiral
reel out of control

breaking down

the children will return
the house will fill again,
and I will pick up
these shards,
piece together
some semblance
of normalcy,
and begin
to rebuild

in the dark.

(Written for dVerse pub, where Lillian is hosting with a challenge to focus on time:  “To everything there is a season…”)


Love · poetry · relationships

Seasons of Love

Winter came early –
seeped into intimate
corners, froze hearts.

Walls papered white,
intending cheer, only
accented bitter cold.

Layers of submission,
hope, denial, ineffectual
in refueling the warmth.

She followed him down
the unavoidable slope
deep into the abyss.

Chilled, shaken she
braced for the arduous
trek ahead, injected

lightness into an
impossible situation,
committed, unaware

that he’d moved on,
abandoned her with his
customary indifference.

Years later, thawed
by the warmth of solitude
she reflected, wondered

how the blatancy of his
oddities has escaped her –
his fixation on antiquated

ideals, how he furnished
her mind with incoherencies,
collected things, not values.

She had merely been
an observer in his life,
yet it had escaped her

that it was the fiery
summer of her soul,
that had melted his ice

her scorching, all –
embracing passion
that had united them

and, as in all things
seasonally inevitable,
their love would die.

(Seasons Of Love originally appeared in February 2016.)

Love · mental-health · poetry · relationships


mind regresses
in the aftershock –
tremors of misspent
devotion reverberate
suffocating debris

teenage hearts
caught in the quake –
a marital schism –
plucked unripe
sweetness battered

I, colourless
abandoned, like
a runner-up in
a beauty pageant
forgotten, flailed

failed as a mother
withdrawn, rattled
psyche exploding
survival a slow crawl
challenges weighty

aligned my burden
with that of another
six adolescents, and
a bi-polar man looking
for female direction

craved the laughter
of children, the sanity
of structures unbroken
dust of the aftermath
clouding sensibility

anarchy rejoices
at lack of clarity
loss of control, dreams
of bliss have no home
when depression rules

retrace steps –
ponder the road
that led to destruction
search for light before
darkness took possession

found a trail of
foundations lacking
fortitude, wrought
with cracks, underlying
angst threatening

the earthquake, I see
as inevitability –
my landscape strewn
with fault lines
corrupt under stress

drama follows the weak
an internal compression
and shifting, uncontainable
wildness – destined to
destroy – breakthrough




dreams · life · Love · poetry · relationships


He possessed a certain divinity,
a soft-spoken modesty she read
as safe harbour, fell for maiden-like
innocence, her blessed compliance.

Married in the sacred way, carnal
mounting accentuating a tailored
love – husband and wife exploring,
celebrating glorious submission

until joy plummeted – impossible
to duplicate infatuation in a void –
they grasped at objects, mystery –
remodeled, relocated, searched,

constructed a delicate balance –
contrived happiness, passionless,
spontaneous and fearful, rawness
of exposed souls clinging together

saw deliverance in the perfection
of celebrity, worshiped at the feet
of media icons, like fools pandering
to a naked Emperor, no amount of

polish could contain the anxiousness
of their precariousness; quietly he
undressed another, fiery girl, while
surprised onlookers, sensitive, yet

unwilling to intervene – the discernible
darkness seeping through cracks of a
once golden haze – closed their doors to
the holy union now veering off course,

shielded themselves from bludgeoning
nostalgia, the anguished cries of vows
slaughtered bleeding onto sidewalks,
as if pain bore tentacles, spidery limbs

able to infiltrate the secrets of their
own carefully compartmentalized
partnerships, disrupt the grind and
lay bare the godless infidelities within.


abuse · disability · Family · life · Love · poetry · relationships · women's issues

A Sister’s Sin

Patience does not apply
in a family lacking ease,
nor is loyalty gifted…

my sister – a fiery red
corvette fuelled by hate
would slaughter kin

lived for the fight,
gleaned energy from
sinful behaviours

despite hard-work,
tasted power in attracting
meat – a fleshy cow –

processed sweethearts
with abandonment,
hardly caring, despised

public scrutiny – her world
a miniscule burlesque show
fluttering raw flesh inviting

scavengers – appeased out of
necessity – she shopped crowds,
possessed a light that shouted:

“Open for business” – dared
not endure loneliness, desperate
to annihilate the past –

her heart, a massive-winged
avenger, pummelled by
the memories of a brother

her twin – torn from her
by a deserting father – left
dying like an unwanted pest

an agonizing plummet
into an unendurable darkness
from which she sought any

infiltration, yearning to
pierce, to relieve, the musty
hold of her ground-up reality:

no virtue in patience,
no prize in loyalty
each woman for herself


dreams · Love · poetry · relationships

Unexpected Guest

An unexpected guest –
invited by a spouse –
sends a wife grasping,
stretching, unsettled
by sequence of events.

She has rattled around
this oversized ranch of
a house, treasured the
rapid upward mobility,
covered up insecurities,

believed their marriage
to be respectable, now
waking up to his secret
tries to calm anxiety by
downplaying interludes

outside the marital bed,
but upstairs the other
has claimed a presence,
her scheming husband
temporarily committed.

Does she keep the secret
or make it public; shatter
their privacy, tear children
from their father, or exist –
convince herself it’s not

real, is over with, sleep
in separate quarters,
hold onto the luxury,
live with what is, try
to keep heart in home?

She can’t handle it
anymore, hindsight
progressing, comfort
no longer valid, risks
losing children, too

weary minded to care,
wondering how she’d
missed the significance
of her husband bringing
home an uninvited guest.