Purple Cat

(A poem I wrote for my English class)


I read a story about a black kitten

Dyed so deeply purple

That it penetrated his skin

And he will be purple for a long time.

He was also chewed on by a dog,

Carrying wounds as reminders

Of cruelty and neglect.


I thought about being bullied,

As I  suffered  most of my childhood

Being taunted and made fun of.

The abusers followed me throughout the school,

Until I found barely used places

To hide and dream of more pleasant things.

I was cut through the skin by bullying,

Abuse dyeing me as weird and a freak.


The cat and I share scars

And while I’m not dyed purple

Like him I carry the damage under my skin.

We were both scared and alone.

The cat was rescued and under care

And I have medication and therapy.

We both work to be more than our scars,

More than our purple skin.


© 2017 Valerie Hathaway


World turns on a grain of sand

What was north is now south

Exploded by a web of lies

And misunderstood truths

Everyone screams for themselves

While others disappear, and perish

Hiding are the ones behind the power

Laughing as they gather their papers

And transform them into gold

Nothing is worth anything now

The ashes are simple reminders

Of how this used to be fertile

For the angels have fallen asleep

And the devil is behind the wheel

There were butterflies here

Now there are only spirits

And crumpled bits of newspaper

And used up garbage bags

Saying, you are done for this time


©2017 Valerie Hathaway

Life, As Laundry

NOTE: This is from my poetry class: write a poem as one large metaphor.


Memories are sorted into piles

Darks, lights, whites

Colors of all shades and feelings


The dark times are bathed in cold water

And dried just enough to not bleed,

Though they do fade eventually


Brighter moments mean warmer temperatures

Rinsed so they are clear

And softened in the dryer, in the heat


White events take it hot and dry out longer

Needing a touchup from the iron

As the passion is burned in


Special occasions need handwashing

In gentle soap and warm water

Then laid out flat and reshaped into form


When dry, memories are tucked away

Or hung up in the closet of the mind

Waiting for a remembrance, to be worn again


©2017 Valerie Hathaway

At The Food Bank

Hands that reach out

Hands gratefully take

Hands that are rich

To hands that are empty

Hands that have much

To hands that have nothing

Both hands give thanks


Mouths that are full of grace

To mouths that are full of need

Mouths that bring prosperity

To mouths that bring poverty

Mouths give what they have

To mouths that need what they give

Both mouths give thanks


Hearts that are full of abundance

To hearts full of longing

Hearts that bring forth peace

To hearts that yearn for peace

Hearts that are divinely filled

To hearts that need the Divine

Both hearts give thanks


©2017 Valerie Hathaway


Clouds like steel wool

Rub and create sparks

That plummet to the earth

Splitting a tree into tinder

Or a transformer to molten steel

It may scorch the ground

Set fire to the forests

The clouds move on, chastening

Their charges loudly

And they spark again

Onto themselves and the land


© 2017 Valerie Hathaway

The Psych Ward

The room was enormous

Walk past the nurse’s station

They were doing paperwork

In a far corner was a TV and couch

There were a few people watching

The rest were wandering or in bed

Resting or crying out their pain

Someone would talk and never stop

There is a Code Violet on the other side

Where they keep the violent cases

A nurse runs over to help the overwhelmed

Staff there, I hear some yelling

I walk back to my room

My roommate is asleep and snoring

Another night of no rest

Another day of waning hope

I cannot see this doctor

He pegs me and gives me the wrong med

I suffer through the week

Because of his smug misdiagnosis

I will not come back here again

Not if I don’t have to

I want to live again and be free


© 2017 Valerie Hathaway

No One

No cries of a baby

No shrieks and laughter

No teen tirades

No see you later

No I’m home again

No I’m getting married

No I’m pregnant

No I’m so busy

No grand dinners

No reunions or homecomings

No grandchildren to cuddle

No children to tend to

No one knocking at the door


All is silence

All is lingering

In the sound of a machine

And someone paid to care


There is no one there


© 2017 Valerie Hathaway

Doubting Thomas

Would I be one who doubts like Thomas?

These limitations are what I owe

The world for my unique existence.

I mend my ways, darn the thoughts together,

String of work and fabric of toil.

They fall apart and I fix them again;

Maybe I need this pill, or that therapy.

But do I believe and receive holy fire?

My brain scrambles for that winning phrase,

The correct words to utter with conviction.

I yearn for that connection with faith,

But my eyes are shuttered and limbs useless.

Better to remain in the cupboard, hiding

Then to remove doubt and become vulnerable.

But there’s that sand grain of faith still,

Irritating the oyster to produce a pearl.

I must gather my mutterings and cast them aside

Walking into the mysterious night

Shutting the door and wait for belief

To be manifest in the hearts of the willing.


© 2017 Valerie Hathaway


Up from the ground it reaches for the sun

Mane-like flower with a bright yellow glow

Petals of gold expand and bring light out,

Nectar and pollen for bee and butterfly

The root burrows deep into the dirt

Green leaves spread and unfurl to the day

Then when fertilized by Nature’s own

The seeds unfold, ready to glide

Along the variable winds, waiting for more

And they float away, bringing another chance

Of birth and rebirth, for generations

Until they are weeded and cast out

Or munched into a rabbit’s buffet


© 2017 Valerie Hathaway