So small yet fast to the ground

You stand, whiskers twitching about

On tiny scrappy feet


Your needs so few

Yet your trails so complex and many

Black pearls of eyes

Your nose moving with your breath


Your belly so white

Yet black stripes down your back

A nip on your alert ears

Maybe a skirmish, maybe unknown


You pose so still

While the camera clicks away

Not knowing if it’s predator

Or just nosy observer


Then you return to all fours

And with a flick of the tail

Scamper over rocks to the reeds


© 2017 Valerie Hathaway


Wind barreling around the houses,

Bending and shaking the bare trees


Dark gray skies neverending

Hang shadowy, like a curtain


Grass caught between green and yellow

Wet and shortened, stand firm


Me in my study, staring at the window

As the sky whitens, maintaining its mantle


Another overcast day, such is Winter

With its cloudy shroud upon the air


© 2017 Valerie Hathaway

Alone and Strange

Fragile yet fun

I plunged into the creek

Walking downstream

With the water

Finding no treasure but folly


I am yelled at and taunted

By the kids at school

I am not like them

I am weird


I play with my toys

Having talks with them

Not as abusive

As I had received


So-called friends

Take advantage of me

Trading and stealing things

I just want their attention


My parents don’t care

As long as I make good grades

And don’t get in trouble

They continue their fighting


Hiding in a corner

I let loose my imagination

Away from the bullies

Away from the fighting


I walk alone

Not taking the bus

It can be miles away

I wear out my shoes


I am teased and harassed

I put up with it

No one will save me

Not even the teachers


Alone and strange


© 2017 Valerie Hathaway


She sits at the beach,

Water lapping up

To the shoreline.

Sun radiating,

Bring fire and heat.

Palm trees for shade,

Waving under a warm breeze.

Her lounge chair is white

And she idles lazily.

Putting the book aside

She picks up her drink.

What a great afternoon

For comfort and contentment.

She listens to the waves

As they pummel the coast.

Setting her drink down,

And closes her eyes.

Inhale and exhale,

She naps to the sound.


© 2017 Valerie Hathaway

Bird Bathing

Diving violently into the stream

You thrash your head and body

Water flies off, rising and falling

You come up, shaking yourself

Without a towel

Just sunshine and open air

Then you plunge again

Until the dirt is off

And the bugs disappear

You gently dance to the shore

And watch the others swirl about


© 2017 Valerie Hathaway


Needle injected into the skin

For another opinion

To see if I’m drunk

Or on illicit drugs


Hours pass

I’m supposed to be seen

But I’m ignored

Unless it’s time to leave


They take everything

Even my underwear

I couldn’t leave if I wanted to

Just an open robe, no strings


First they decide if I need to go

Then they must find a bed

Then they call an ambulance

I try to sleep, restless


There are questions, so many

To be answered politely

Do I have this or that?

I desperately want a cigarette


Time to depart the ER

They wrap me up in a blanket

And belts across the gurney

All because I wanted to die


To the psych ward I go


@ 2017 Valerie Hathaway


You don’t know how it feels

To have your chest contract

To shake violently

To breathe in shallow gasps


You don’t know how it feels

To cry until you have a migraine

To be stiff and unwieldy

And wanting sweet relief so bad


You don’t know how it feels

To be racing inside my head

To hear the mockery and abuse

To be torn down again and again


If you knew how it felt

You wouldn’t be part of the stigma

You might have more compassion

You would say, “I am here.”


© 2017 Valerie Hathaway


Spindly legs hold her upright

Flamingo style.

So much weight to bear upon

Those fragile limbs.

She steps painfully,

Her joints are wooden

And creak as a fence

In a rough wind.

She clings to her walker

With rigid arms,

Taking each stride

With no precision

But a general idea

Of moving forward.

She stops and breathes,

A small gust of an exhale,

Before she commences

The next stiff iteration

Of movement.

She reaches her chair

With a sense of victory.

Folding over the seat

She unleashes a sigh.

This will steady her

For her next moments of life.


© 2017 Valerie Hathaway