Expectant Mother

Winter’s coming
I try, and fail, to outrun
His cold fingers
As they grab at my ankles

Like a rat, he nibbles
At the edges of the day
So slowly that, at first, I hardly notice
The dark encroaching

Until the dimming of the skies
Reaches the space behind my eyes
And I can feel my mind
Sundowning

Winter’s coming
Drifting through the garden
Settling scores, he moans
An elegy in minor key

I drift, too, among the naked branches
Their fallen raiment, now dull
And stained with mold,
Crunch beneath my boots

For a moment, this feels like drowning
So I breathe deep the icy
Mildewed tang of November
Close my eyes, open them again

Then – there, just there
On the sleepy rhododendron: a bud
Wrapped tight, all bundled up
Against the coming snows

There are dozens, maybe hundreds
More, I pause
And study the one
Or perhaps she studies me

Suspended, the silence expands
In my chest
Rich, glowing, like a hot air balloon
In a dusky sky

Packed away, inside this
Tiny idle embryo
There lies a flower
Purple, fragrant, larger than my hand

I see her, Oh I see her,
Or does she see me?
All I know is Winter’s coming
But Spring’s already here

©Nichole Q. Perreault, January 2020

2020 The Musical: The One Where They Don’t Sing

Here it is! 2020 The Musical: The One Where They Don’t Sing. Thanks to all of you who welcomed us to your driveways on New Year’s Eve. We had SO MUCH FUN celebrating with you!

Due to unforeseen popular demand, and our own exhaustion, we couldn’t get to everyone, so we decided to record our performance “art” for y’all. Please note that we put “art” in quotes for a reason 😂 And if you choose to indulge us by watching, remember that we cooked this little number up at 2am on Wednesday! MUCH LOVE ❤️ 🥳

Sacrifice of Thanksgiving

thank you
words that burn
an offering
bound in rope
pulled tight
laid upon the fire
like a lamb
or Isaac
costs me something
as if my flesh
were on the flame

a lonely leaf
scrapes down an empty street
where all the doors are
locked for winter
behind them
faces that I long to see
hands I cannot touch
clouds that shroud the stars
make a lousy blanket
I pull my scarf over my ears
and hurry home

home
glows like a box lantern
on the little hill
the door
this door
opens for me
air warm as
wind over hot sand
rushes out onto the stoop
throws its arms around my shoulders
pulls me inside

unwrap the scarf
take off the boots
set my bitter feet before the hearth
between chattering teeth
I breathe
words that burn
and turn my hardened heart
to weeping like wax
beneath a flame
I offer
thanks

© Nichole Q Perreault

Photo by Timon Wanner on Unsplash

Nothing But A Moon

Inspired by “Half Moon Makes Full Halo” by Jakusho Kwong

The moon is nothing
but a moon
Cold and colorless
Her gravity barely holding the feet of men
to her dry and dusty shores
Barren
She wheels round and round the earth
On a path she didn’t choose
While gazing down upon that celestial spring
That spinning womb that
Gives birth to trees and snakes
and little league

The moon is nothing
but a moon
Reflecting only another’s fire
She doesn’t burn or even turn
Her head
Part of her always hidden
Always facing away
Her far side1 never seen
by earth-eyes
Half-shadowed
She still kindles trees and snakes
and valentines

The moon is nothing
but a moon
And yet
Her being
Just her being
Is weight enough to stir the waters
Call forth hidden springs
Just her pushing, pulling
Presence
Steadies the spinning womb
Midwifes trees and snakes
and birthday cakes

The moon is nothing
but a moon
And yet
Even on her far side
The sun still shines
Limning mountains, filling craters
Silvering sands that
None will ever see
In her hiding place
The moon is gleaming
Bearing beams of love2 for trees and snakes
and cups of tea

© Nichole Q. Perreault, September 2020

1The moon has a “far side’ not a ‘dark side’.

2 The Little Black Boy by William Blake

Header Photo by David Dibert on Unsplash

Just How She Wanted It // The Highly Politicized Death of Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Why I Won’t Stay Silent

CLARIFICATIONS

Before I step in these muddy waters, I want to be clear that, even as a pro-lifer, I am not particularly excited about the opportunity to fill Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s seat. Not only was her death literally minutes ago, I think it’s short-sighted to assume that hastily filling her seat will rescue or significantly advance the anti-abortion movement. The situation is complex and, as we know from past appointments, there are no guarantees. So this post is NEITHER an endorsement or a condemnation of the Republican Party’s attempt to appoint a new Supreme Court Justice before November.

This post is also NOT an endorsement of either Trump or Biden for president because neither of them would be my choice for president. I know this will make many of you (on both sides) angry, but it is what it is.

This post IS a clarification of why I have chosen to openly discuss the not-so-beautiful part of Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s legacy so shortly after her death.

(My opinion about whether or not now is the right time to appoint is largely irrelevant and many of you may just want to skip this part, but for those of you who would really like to know here it is: I acknowledge that, according to the constitution, it is within the President’s and Senate’s power to appoint and confirm. While I am moved by Ginsburg’s final wishes, I don’t see how, constitutionally, those wishes can be binding in any way. Ultimately, it’s the President’s and Senate’s call, no matter how we feel about it. Personally, while I 100% want to see a pro-life judge on the bench so we can save the babies and the mamas, I am concerned that trying to fill the seat now is so divisive that it may do more harm than good in the long run. As for the “hypocrisy” accusation dominating the internet, I think it’s important to point out that hypocrisy abounds on all sides, and even Ginsburg herself had a different opinion when Obama was in office.)

SHE WANTED IT THIS WAY

Typically, I would agree that it’s too soon after Ginsburg’s death to get political about her record, to talk about her replacement, and so on. BUT (and this is a big but) Ginsburg herself chose to politicize her life and death, as clearly evidenced by her last wish, apparently dictated to a family member. That final act reinforces what we already knew: Ginsburg’s work was her life mission; she was nothing if not passionate about and fiercely dedicated to that mission, even to the very end.

Let’s also remember a some other things that brought us to where we are today: Ginsburg chose not to step down during Obama’s presidency because she wanted a woman president, specifically Hilary Clinton, to choose her replacement. When Hillary lost, Ginsburg decided to try to hold out for Biden. (I kinda love this about her, by the way.) But alas, that didn’t work out either. So now, just weeks before a highly-charged, practically pre-contested election, America finds itself down a Supreme Court Justice. Suddenly, Bush Gore 2000 is starting to look as benign as an episode of the Andy Griffith Show.

As for Ginsburg’s family, Ginsburg clearly made no effort to shield them from the political drama, as she chose to dictate to them a dying wish about her replacement. The family then chose to step into the fray by publicizing said dying wish.

So no, I will not be silenced by those who argue that Ginsburg or her family deserve a less political response. We’re all adults here. We all know that Ruth Bader Ginsburg dedicated her life to political activism through the law. Even in her death she is still rocking our world. Ginsburg’s life and now her death are politicized because that’s exactly the way she wanted it to be.

Phew! And I’m not even to the part that really annoys people!

THE PART THAT REALLY ANNOYS PEOPLE

Please note, I make the following comments as a pro-life/anti-abortion feminist who deeply respects Ginsburg and also deeply disagrees with her on the issue of abortion.

As a woman who has had an abortion and lives with that choice every day, I am acutely aware of the fact that the responsibility of my baby’s death is ultimately mine. At the same time, I cannot ignore the effect our pro-abortion culture had on me. I was sold a lie – by our government, our leaders, the media, my teachers, my community, doctors, nurses and clinics – that abortion is a right, a symbol of freedom and strength; that abortion is an easy solution; that it would fix my problems; that my life would return to normal; that the fetus isn’t a baby and no one would be hurt.

Nobody – not the clinics, not the doctors, not the nurses, nobody – informed this 15 year old girl that nothing, not even abortion, would turn back time, make me “unpregnant”, make me “not a mother”; that my life would never go back to “normal”; or that I would bear the invisible scars of abortion for the rest of my life.

I thought I was having a procedure when I was actually killing my baby. I thought my problems would be over soon, when I actually fell headlong into PTSD. That is the just tiniest fraction of my story. I bought the lie. And the price was steep. Steeper than most can imagine.

Now, if you could pause for a moment…
take off your political armor…
And put on your empathy sweater…
(yes, your empathy sweater)

I think, if you genuinely try, you could understand how it might be difficult for me (and the millions of others like me) to watch Ginsburg be hailed as a hero of women and human rights without any acknowledgement of her radical stance on abortion.

Whether we like it or not, Ginsburg is complicit in the perpetuation of a lie, and the abortion industry it fuels, which have together led to the destruction of millions of babies (half of whom are female) as well as the suffering of countless women (and men).

Please remember that very few women are running into abortion clinics gleefully “choosing” to murder their children. Rather they are led there by people in positions of power who’ve convinced them that abortion is something other than what it really is. Because of the gravity of her position, Ginsburg is, at the very least, responsible for perpetuating this lie.

ABORTION IS ANTI-FEMINIST

Perhaps the biggest misconception about abortion is that it is somehow synonymous with feminism. Abortion is perhaps the least feminist thing about America’s feminist movement. First and foremost, approximately half of the millions of babies aborted each year in America are female. However, in some countries that allow sex selective abortion, preborn female babies are far more likely to be aborted than male babies. For this reason alone, abortion is inherently anti-female and therefore, anti-feminist.

As for the argument that abortion liberates women from oppression, consider just this one example of the contrary (we simply don’t have time for all of them): Abortion clinics and the pro-abortion lobby adamantly oppose showing women an ultrasound of her baby because, they say, it puts an undue burden on women. The truth puts an undue burden on women? Keeping women from the truth under the guise of protection is the height of manipulation, control, and dominance. There is nothing genuinely feminist about that. (Not surprisingly, most women, when they see an ultrasound of their developing baby, choose not to abort.)

And now, for the sake of time I will let this quote by Liz Hoskings sum up why abortion is indeed anti-feminist: “…mainstream feminism has sold out to what is a masculine worldview. Instead of fighting for equality on their own terms, women have been forced into adapting themselves to a wombless, male world.”


FINAL WORDS

I am grateful for Ruth Bader Ginsburg the person, and I am grateful to her for the important advances she made for the equal rights of (already born) women. While I would love to ignore all the drama and just reflect quietly on Gingsburg’s life, I cannot. Her role as a Supreme Court Justice and her own choices surrounding her tenure have contributed to the current intensity surrounding her death, and therefore demand our attention.

As a pro-life/anti-abortion feminist, I will not ignore the fact that Ruth Bader Ginsburg failed to protect the rights of the most vulnerable women in our nation – the unborn. Nor can I deny that she was complicit in perpetuating a lie, and an industry, that leads women into bondage under the guise of freedom and empowerment.

So, yes, I am unapologetically questioning Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s record of protecting and advocating for “all” women. Yes, I am doing it days after her passing. That may shock you or bother you. But you know who I’m pretty sure is neither shocked nor bothered? Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

Rest in peace, Ruth. I sure hope to meet you one day and talk together in the light God’s perfect love. I imagine there’s a few surprises in store for all of us.

© Nichole Q. Perreault

YES, I AM PRO-LIFE. NO, THAT’S NOT AN ENDORSEMENT OF TRUMP.

It’s almost as if I’m in competition with myself to write posts that satisfy as few people as possible. That doesn’t mean I don’t love you. And away we go…

I am pro-life. More than that, I am anti-abortion. Passionately anti-abortion.

And I am not voting for Donald Trump. I didn’t vote for him in 2016 and I don’t plan to vote for him in 2020.

I’m not going to bore you with an elaborate explanation of my reasoning. It’s a personal choice. And it’s painful. There’s nothing I want more than to abolish abortion and I know that a Democrat president will quickly undo standing executive orders that protect the unborn, and will nominate pr-abortion judges.

Which is why I am not voting for Joe Biden and Kamala Harris either.

To my pro-life and pro-Trump friends:
Perhaps you’re concerned that I am aiding in the election Biden/Harris. I understand. And I am sorry. I hate it. But I cannot vote for a man that I can’t defend and I cannot defend Trump. I can defend many of his administration’s policies, but I cannot defend the careless, callous, irresponsible, unprofessional way he speaks to and about women, racial and ethnic minorities, the under-resourced, or basically anyone he views as “other”. This is about far more than inelegant speech. I was, and still am, a fan of George W. Bush. I found his inelegant speech endearing and humanizing. I find the things Trump says far more divisive and dangerous. And frankly, I am just too damn tired to defend the hot communications disaster that is Donald Trump.

(I confess, this would probably be a more difficult decision if I lived in a battleground state. Here in the Democrat fortress of Connecticut, my vote for president won’t change who gets the small handful of Connecticut’s electoral votes. And so my decision stands.)

To my pro-Biden/Harris friends:
You may think that, comparatively at least, Biden and Harris are the better choice. I understand. Given the circumstances, I get it. Voting is a personal decision and you have to sleep at night, too. All I ask of you is this: When you fill in that bubble or mail that ballot or pull that lever (Does anyone use levers anymore? I miss them. I felt like the Wizard of Oz. Damn you hanging chads!)…anyway…

When you cast your vote, please do so with the full knowledge that you are endorsing the wholesale murder of millions of unborn children every year, and perpetuating a lie – one that promises freedom but instead physically, emotionally, and spiritually ravages women, families, communities and the world.

I am not too proud to admit that I hope your vote for Biden/Harris is as painful for you as giving up my vote is for me. If you believe they are the better choice, at least enter into it honestly. At least admit the cost. Maybe you’re right. Maybe it is worth it. That is the chance you’re taking.

And truly, TRULY, I do not judge you for it. How can I if my non-vote helps put Biden/Harris in office?

But we must, all of us, face the cost of our CHOICES honestly if we are to ever understand what it is we’re fighting for. If we really want to make a difference in this world, we must take responsibility for our actions, big and small, individual and collective.

No, I am not saying you can’t vote for Democrats or Republicans, but damn it, why can’t we demand more from them?!

If you’re a pro-life Democrat, demand better from your leaders. Stop giving them a pass!

If you’re an anti-racist Republican, demand better from your leaders. Stop giving them a pass!

Otherwise, what incentive will they ever have to change?

(but also, I really do l love you)

©️ Nichole Q. Perreault

Belong

You can’t fly a kite without strings
But you can watch it spread its wings
Soar and dip, gently fall
Swoop high over the garden wall

You can watch her spread wings
Your love was just an offering
Leaning there on the garden wall
You let go of all you are

Your love was just an offering
Like a nightingale song, or a church bell’s ring
Yet letting go of all you are
Something slowly fills your heart

A nightingale song, a church bell’s ring
We can’t hold on to anything
But let the star-wind fill your heart
And with open hands, belong

©️ Nichole Q. Perreault, August 2020

img_1508

The month of August in the 2020 calendar by Jess Franks*: https://www.jessfranksart.com

*One night, while searching for inspiration for a submission to my monthly poetry group**, I paused to meditate on the Jess Franks calendar that hangs by my bed. Butterflies have been on my heart a lot lately, but it was her two line poem that really caught my attention. BAM! Suddenly the spring opened and there I was at 2:00 a.m. scribbling away. Jess’s art is great example of how inspired creativity is like a mountain spring, or a deep well, a gift that keeps on giving. 

**As part of our poetry group prompt for August, this poem loosely follows a form known as Pantoum, a poem of any length, composed of four-line stanzas in which the second and fourth lines of each stanza serve as the first and third lines of the next stanza. The last line of a pantoum is often the same as the first.

Inseparable, Free

(a paraphrase of Psalms 23, 73, 91, 139 and Zephaniah 3)

Where can I go to get away from You?
Where can I run, that You are not already there?
If I go up to the heavens, You are there
And if I descend to the depths of despair
Even to the grave, there You are

You are with me when I am flying high, soaring through life
But if I land in an unfamiliar place where no one knows my name or speaks my language, still You are holding on to me

If I grieve and weep and wail with bitterness in my heart
If I stand before You like a brute beast, acting without understanding
If I throw a tantrum like a spoiled child
Or hide under the table trembling in fear
If I shut You out like an angry teenager
If my body fails me
Or my mind becomes weak and I cannot even remember You
Nevertheless, You are with me
Your right hand will hold me fast

You have shattered glass to rescue me
Shaken mountains
Torn down walls
To get to me
To set me free

As the song goes, “You don’t give Yourself in pieces”*
So I won’t give myself in pieces either
and “You don’t hide Yourself to tease us”*
So I won’t hide myself from You

Actually, not even darkness can hide me from You
You see through every darkness
Even the darkness of my heart
Even the darkness that hides in darkness
You see the real me

The spark of my soul rests in Your heart
Untouched by human hands, my being hides in You

I will rest in You like a baby bird beneath the shadow of her mama’s wings
Even in the presence of my enemies
You will feed and nourish my soul
You will sing to me with joy

We are one
You and me
Inseparable, free
Your love will never let me go

©️ Nichole Q. Perreault

*Song lyrics from “Pieces” by Amanda Cook

Thanks to Andy Willis for making this photo available freely on @unsplash 🎁

The Dream

You are the dream He dreamed
He dreams
the song He sings
when the whole world sleeps

You are the whisper in the wind
wonder hushed
on angels’ lips
a secret He keeps

You are the gift He gave
He gives
the life He lives
in the depths of the deep

You
are the dream
the act, the scene

You
are the masterpiece
penned without ink

You
are the ballad
sung by the trees

You
are the mystery

You
are the dream

©️Nichole Q Perreault

https://unsplash.com/photos/2q6C5zDJOsg