Get lost in the smell of chicken feathers
and dim lighting.
Check on the chicks under the heat lamp,
then wander through a bit more until you find it.
Climb the ladders, small slivers of wood breaking away in your fingertips.
Stand on the edge of the world.
Remember to breathe.
Look out at the rest of the farm through the open barn door –
the house, the yard, the sunset.
Take another breath,
let it fill you with courage as your sisters taunt you from down below.
Wrap your hands around the rope,
make sure your grip is steady.
When you’re ready,
And fall into a bail of hay.
Lynne Schmidt is the granddaughter of a Holocaust survivor, and mental health professional with a focus in trauma and healing. She is the author of the chapbooks, Gravity (Nightingale and Sparrow Press), and On Becoming a Role Model (Thirty West), which was featured on The Wardrobe’s Best Dressed for PTSD Awareness Week. Their work has received the Maine Nonfiction Award, Editor’s Choice Award, and was a 2018 and 2019 PNWA finalist for memoir and poetry respectively. When given the choice, Lynne prefers the company of her three dogs and one cat to humans.