The Phoenix

By: Jennifer Brierly

The Phoenix

A Spoken Word by Jennifer Brierly

My therapist suggested writing a “victim’s impact statement”

“A statement,” she says

As though words exist in dashes and lines

what my life consists of since that day

Passing years. Months. Weeks

where to begin, were I able to speak.

The cold hammer of trauma

tension and drama

has already met the faberge egg of memory

An impact itself may not be what it seems

Here, I’m wiping away the remnants

of last night’s dreams

still stuck to the insides of my eyelids

hazy, chocolate cobwebs

dazed, cold, my peace ebbs

And I have no fight

Not then and not now

But I’m starting to learn how much my voice matters


You too?

Him too?

Her too?

Do the echoes of our stories follow you?

follow you?

Do you pause to listen?

Do we break through?

Or does the beat just go on and you do what you do?

Statistics with faces

It’s uncomfortable, that’s true

Does our presence make a statement?

Does it have an impact?

As far as we’ve come, we still need so much more

We need women not scared to be labeled as “whores”

“Trashy” or “Easy”

I’m still called a liar

Chin up, sisters or brothers

Hold your head higher

Don’t let them see the rain fall.

If I could piece together this fragmented soul

Show tangibly, while incomplete


I’m still whole

purposed inhalation

a quiet determination

I exhale restoration.

and my pulse is morse code

tapping out the names of my mother. my daughter. my grandsons.

And you.

imagery transcends language

and I see the tiniest stitches deeply embroidered around the edges of my heart

Jewel tones creating the most delicate tapestry of promise.

Ashes buried over feather

lightening flashes in spring weather

Your consent taken

The ugliest violation

for that you grieve. you mourn.

But once evil gripped him, though he left a victim

It’s Then That A Phoenix was born.

Phoenix, RISE.

-Jennifer Brierly

—Keep Still Being Here. JB

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