Danielle Hark

Roots and vines snake, tangling

            around scuffed patent leather 

                      mary janes, delicate ankles,

            up the toothpick curves of my youthful 

legs, securing me to the earth.

            They keep me from floating

                      up into the atmosphere, burning 

            to nothingness. Keep me 

from diving off cliffs, bridges. 

            From hanging, poisoning. 


Tethered by knotted roots, 

           I cannot leave this world, no 

                     matter how deeply my bones ache.

Dismayed, unsettled, I look 

            down at my viney captors,  

                      among the leaves, two small 

            faces look up at me, smiling, 

blooms from a wicked stalk, 

            wrapped around, tightly 

                      clutching my weak legs.

            Tittering through my lamentation.


Resigned, for that moment, 

            to entrapment among tangled roots, 

                      I crumple to the unyielding 

            blanket of branches and blades, 

and softly kiss their golden eyelids. 

Danielle Hark is an artist and writer who lives with PTSD and bipolar disorder. She is the founder of the non-profit Broken Light Collective that empowers people with mental health challenges using photography. Danielle lives and creates in New Jersey with her husband, two young girls, one Samoyed pup and a Scottish Fold cat.