#OctPoWriMo – Day 30 – “Forbidden”



Forbidden // by Jennifer Patino


Speaking was forbidden
Fighting back, banned

“You’re a girl,
you’re not allowed to do that”

Those discussions
at ten years old,
they had depth

One loose thread
led to the next

and the next time
I wasn’t able to scream
I remembered
how quickly
I could pretend
it was all a dream

This wasn’t helpful
at all as an adult

Tense chested,

“And what do you think?”

The whole room blurred,
and these strangers took on
familiar faces

I’m sorry, I was brought up
to believe there were no
safe spaces

Ridiculed for my tone,
my deep voice,
my inflection

My way with words,
my whispered pleas,
my long winded introspection

I mute myself now
when I feel reactions
of those who feel
I’m a burden, a distraction

I’m a talking doll
shaking at loud noises
with a never ending stream
of incessant inner voices

Hush now, you’ve shared too much
And it’s never going to be enough




#OctPoWriMo – Day 26 – “Giiwitaabatoo”

PiotrSiedleckiArtwork by Piotr Siedlecki


Giiwitaabatoo // by Jennifer Patino


My mind is a combination
of intersecting circles
that form together,
a cycle
running on
an unreliable clock

My mind can reach
all time, and no time,
and all at once
if I let it       If I let
it run too far away,
away from me

My mind builds barriers
to keep hoops from
interlocking       Everything
comes full circle       What
goes around comes around,
my mind knows this

My mind can break chains
on its own and sometimes
converge with another
fleeting, floating stray
and I just go with its flow
and breathe circular

I learn from each
rotation       I grow
and change like seasons


  • Giiwitaabatoo –
    s/he runs around in a circle
    in Ojibwe