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Three Poems by Elizabeth Gade

by Elizabeth Gade

An Open Letter To My Fellow Survivors*

You are not the

house of horrors

trauma built

inside of


They tried to fit us

into cheap hotel rooms

and jail cells and

locked wards

of hospitals

Slapped us with labels

the same way your abuser

first slapped you across

the face

And you ceased to be you

in one skin splitting

split second

as the mind splits

to wall off the trauma

Don't bleed on the good carpet

It takes courage

to look beyond

medical records

or a prison number

and see

your own humanity

in a society

That will weaponize

your trauma



Never let you up

off your knees

Shame you back

to your abuser

Police your body

What were you wearing

Did you keep your legs shut

This is the wound of being born

woman we all


this is the price to pay

for daring

to embody






For allowing just the smallest spark

of the divine feminine

to shine through

Never stop fighting

for you

For your right

to be the bravest woman

you’ve ever


And to see her

in all the women

you'll ever


* first published by The View Magazine Summer 2022 Issue


Pretty Is A Drowning Dress

I want to take the pretty off,

prettiness is a dress

with long pockets

weighted down with rocks

and I’m walking into

the middle of a lake

lungs open and ready for a flood.

Pretty is my drowning,

what damned me.

Pretty worked me to death.

Pretty is the hands around my throat,

the saliva-soaked pillowcase stuffed in my mouth

to muffle the screaming.

Pretty is the price I pay to take up space,

to exist in this world as woman.

Pretty is the coffin they box me into,

murmuring “but she was so pretty”

as they bury me alive,

pretty mouth packed full of dirt.


The Corpse Bride

It’s closer to the year 2050

than the 1950’s

but we are still selling


women into marriages

nonchalantly ushering them back

in body bags

“Why didn’t she just leave?”

I refuse to watch the news

can no longer cry on the couch at 7am

every day falling apart at the seams

listening to the rising death count

how many

mothers and daughters and wives


have to die before they say

the word


I’m tired of being a woman

I mean a walking


I can still feel his hands on my throat

when moving towards

romance feels

closer to a death march

than a falling in love

and almost every woman in my

life knows what it’s like

to have another woman turn to face her

and say...

“I’m so glad you made it out alive.”

me too,

me too.


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