Oh but not her,
the one with the wide smile
and the alabaster skin turning brown full of freckles under the summer sun

not her,
the one with the Golden Heart
and the Lions hair

eyes flecked with fire


(Dana Atwood © 2022)

Change ravages us

Betrayal breaks us

Disassembles us, piece by piece

Every cell

Draining the blood from our core

Leaving a caustic, brittle shell

Made of scars & deep grooves

Let it shatter my love

Reassemble yourself on the other side

Rising full of love & light & a wilder heart



Let them scream “desperate & pathetic”

Let them rail & reach & throw their daggers into the flames


Reborn fresh & new

(Dana Atwood © 2022)

their faces look like mine

the shape
the size
eyes, nose, mouth, bones

like mine

and you hated it

it bothered you so
that I made myself whole

corrupted your very story
how you needed me to be
to sell your tale

the way you’d wince at the sound of the distance I’d traveled
collecting pieces of my puzzle

scattered across the globe

first my mother, oh my mother
then my father, oh dear, dear father
grandmothers and grandfathers
great aunts and cousins too

then the famine, before the flood
all once unknown to me

now sharing this space
in my day
taking up room
once reserved only for you

in this small town you love to hate, and hate that you love

and don’t want to leave
despite your parade of porous and acrimonious words
full of bravado and false swagger

it’s under your skin
rooted in you
taking up space in every part of you
tap dancing on your leaky heart

and like everything that lands there, you hate it
like me, and my heart
the love it gave
soft, unhurried

full of touch
and kindness
our bodies forever intertwined

hate it

like all the pieces of me I’ve found
how the puzzle fits back together
and your story of me gets untold

(Dana Atwood © 2022)

I woke up with a poem in my mouth

I tried to speak the words onto paper before they left

My throat grew dusty as I tried to push them through the narrow passage

Only to get lost among all the other abandoned words that were once there too

All the other abandoned words I have been too afraid to say.

(Dana Atwood © 2022)

I lie like a starfish in this bed

looking at the request you have sent


but I know it’s a trap

so I say all the words pounding their way out of my chest

let free the breath I have been holding since the last time

(Dana Atwood © 2022)

Act I – The Winter We’ve Left Behind

you came to me that evening
all your words in one breath

relief written all over your face
a begging stretching out from your sorry eyes

you held me in the kitchen
we talked until dawn

we made love in the morning

(Dana Atwood © February 2021)TBC





I saw you down by the water 

When the sun was high and the water was bright 

The path between us stretched the length of the valley

Up the hill along the mountainside

Wild flowers grew where you last laid me down

(Dana Atwood © 2022)



The legacy of not having a choice.

Read this from a place of pragmatism.

Yes it’s a long story.

I was an unwanted pregnancy.

My mother did not want me.

She was also too afraid to have an abortion. According to her, she tried everything she could to “terminate” the pregnancy naturally, hoping I would just be a miscarriage.

Instead of having an abortion and having way too many negative thoughts and feelings about an unwanted pregnancy she decided instead to move 3000+ miles away from my biological people to give me away. Without their knowledge.

The story around my adoption is so sorted and has so many varieties, I lost count a long time ago.

One says I was found in a hospital corridor.
Another says I was given to some people who gave me back – even if true – who would tell someone this.

And another says it was all planned, which it wasn’t, this much I know from the paper work I have managed to acquire over the years.

There is no record of where I was for the first five to six months of my life.
My paper trail begins around that time after I was born.

And I have one infant photo, no idea how old I was when it was taken.

This next part may be even harder for you to read.

The people who raised me were not fit to have children.

My “adopted mother” should never have been allowed to be near children ever in her life, let alone allowed to adopt / foster / babysit them. There are police records to back this up, three fold.

The details are grim and I am going to spare you from them.
That is a book that will one day maybe get written.

The path I have had to journey because of this has been painful and difficult. Lonely and at times so scary I thought I would die from heartbreak. This is not an exaggeration.

I often wonder why did my mother just not have an abortion. If it had been more readily available. Less stigmatized. More compassionate. Maybe she would have.

Generations of pain would have been avoided.

Heartbreak would have been avoided.

So many peoples lives have been impacted by her decision and it has left a legacy of pain.

A legacy of heart ache.

So when you think of women having unwanted babies and think well someone will adopt them. Do not be fooled that this is some idyllic outcome. Many children of adoption suffer horribly their entire lives.

Now in spite of this have I overcome what the usual outcome for someone like me raised in this way is… Yes.

Do I wake up every day and work my heart out to be a better person than I was yesterday… Yes.

Am not the sum total of all the awful, shit things people say about me because of this… Yes.

Have I been called a “miracle” or “porcelain” (read about how porcelain is made) by others… Yes.

But when you look at the cost benefit analysis of the pain vs the pleasure. The people it has made me susceptible too.

The criticism. The judgment. The stigma. The exclusion.

Being treated like I am suspect because of this confusing story that wasn’t even my choice.

Being excluded from female groups because my story is weird or unusual. It makes me an easy target.

The constant struggle I will always have to carve out my place in this world as a valid person who doesn’t have to constantly verify her existence to others.

The heart ache it has caused to my biological family finding out about me at points in their life when we had little to no time together before their journey was over.

All of it could have been avoided and all that hurt and all of the hate would never have entered the world if she had had access to a safe, compassionate, healthy, un-judged abortion.

Unwanted pregnancies do not lead to idyllic outcomes.

Those babies grow up to be adult people who will always carry with them a feeling of being “unwanted”.

Those “innocent babies” carry a weight that many, many people will judge them for, and yet never truly understand.

Having said all this, if you have even read this far.

I am here, and have made the best of my unwanted circumstances. Not good enough for some but better than anyone ever expected from “someone like me”.

So I need to go be better than I was yesterday, because it will forever be expected of me, fight through the legacy of heartbreak, and keep trying to make sense of the mess I inherited.


so I stitch
with this tiny needle
5 millimetres of carbon steel
strung with old, degraded thread

stabbing through fibrous tissue
muscle and bone
ligaments and tendons
veins and nerves

all thread bare and barely there

lacerated and frayed,
as they passed through your perfidy

so I stitch, with my broken hands
sore and swollen
from holding it all together
all of you, all of me
all of us
but mostly you

hands that have become tired, bruised,
even mangled by your boot as they stomped and kicked and scraped me away

hands that once loved and embraced all of you

but now they shake and stitch, 
all the leftover pieces of me back into place

mismatched and out of order

to make sense
to close the openings
to stop the bleed
before the rancor seeps in

before my pieces become ornaments to adorn your stories

stories of woe
and fragility
that sent you head long between her legs, while I waited for you to come home

before all that’s left of the love that once coursed and pulsed and glued my sinew is sucked out and discarded in a trash heap of fiction

(Dana Atwood © 2021)




it was dead
petrified as if caught mid-stride by a sudden aneurysm

so we stood
filling with the sorrow you feel for lost things

wondering aloud

was it the cruelty of winters cold, its incessant need to swallow all of the light, and leave us to devour ourselves

had it been bludgeoned by the stranger trespassing in our woods
acting like a steam hammer full of their own urgency and self regard

how long had it been like this, would it, could it thaw and come back to life, or had it been left in the cold for so long it froze in place

(Dana Atwood © 2021)