Seems like girlhood conditioned me to be that woman who hides in that place between dark & light, the place that casts shadows. It hurts to be admired. To have the same scars as others with the same particles of stars coursing through your veins. Maybe I was eight, but maybe I never existed. I was not yours by blood, but you found me as a girl hunted while night flooded in through the open balcony and you came & went and pretended not to see me naked, violated. That boy, just a budding man had taken me from behind, and all you did was walk away and lock the door on your daughter. I must have wanted it, wanted like the purple and blue left on me by you whenever I ran away. Little girls stray. I always did. But that was so small and inconsequential (like your manhood) and then you had the nerve to say you knew, you know why I was so stunted. Mother was the same, she would hand me away to the wolves. I remember being only four years old and hiding under her skirt, where I felt most safe. That was my first time going astray. I went on many adventures into those places between dark & light, places of non-existence. I would later be reaching for things not seen by others. I was sure I could touch them, make them real somehow, bring them into the light to display. I was in a trailer, riding out into the country, a girl and a wolf, alone together. I felt his fingers to be like spiders, that was the game; the itsy bitsy spider climbed up the little girl’s leg and into her panties to play, the sky went grey and I went with it. The rain fell and I squinted my eyes at the horses on the open prairies, behind the fence, tamed to be ridden into the distance of the forest, where we once ran free as children, without arachnophobic memories. The rain kept falling, it rained and rained. I was five years old and another budding boy took my hand and led me by a lake, forced himself in my mouth and told me to keep swallowing. That is when I first learned to swim, like a small mermaid, I would swim against the current of the world, unseen, under dark water, just below the surface of the light, in that place I came to recognize as my home. I cannot recall all the ones who gained entrance into my young world, so many trespassers disguised as those who loved me. I lost entire years to those night travels, and there was never a moment when I could reach the sunrise untouched or pure. I was a stained glass version of myself cut from crystal, fragile and breakable, a perfect conduit for the light to pass through, on it’s way to somewhere better. Not one of you could see the logic in my decisions. “Why would she, why would she, how could she?” One day my mother asked me in my twenties if I planned to die a drug addict, and I saw my future, hollowed out, creviced, and dark. I decided at last to emerge from that place, but the darkness followed me into the light, like a hungry wolf licking at my heels, and I laughed at you all, in your fickle facades of marriage and children and happy home lives. I clicked my red heels three times in succession and woke up in a wonderland of my own invention. This time it was a choice, I went willingly with those wolves into the darkest of woods to feed their hunger, quench their infinite, injured need for love. I took up the name not easily given, like a wild gypsy sun dancer and claimed that title willingly. One time my father said he never pictured me a thief, he imagined me as a call girl, something others stole or took with or without permission. Maybe he was always right and I just haven’t envisioned that truth yet. Maybe deep down that’s what they all want for us, to please them and make them feel wanted and important. How important are we, showered by eternal white starlight, yet constantly cloaked and veiled to our own inner beauty? Seems like my girlhood conditioned me to be that woman, and that became my name, in a foreign language, Russian for “woman of the wolves.” Or an Indian name given; my indoctrination into an endless world of night, where I am most at home. I learned to master pleasure. I can easily give it, but I never feel it, and pain is so ordinary to me. I laugh at those who feign these games of pleasure & pain, all those who play like children at being on that border, have never truly felt what it is. Let’s go through the motions together. I will take you where you can only dream of being and when you reach that paradise, you will see that I am the Queen. Queen of wolves & shadows. They pass through me easily, and I take them deep inside of me where there is no fear or hurt, to a place where you can master your own shadow. Watch how the wolf enters the girl. becomes her and her him. One could not exist without the other. Give me what you keep hidden from those who fear you most and I will make it my own. Oh what lovely hands you have, the better to unfold me with. Unfold me like a paper swan and write your name on my soul. I’m bad with names. I only remember eyes and limbs, and how skin gets mutilated by sharp claws as they tear you open. I don’t know what it is that gets so numb in me, I only know women make me come alive like a swan on the surface of a pond, gracefully floating beyond, an endless stream of pretty water-lilies and perfumed gardens. There is never a woman whose name I’ve forgotten. Unique & beautiful like flowers, orchid girl, rose lady, tulip child. They make all that is dull and ugly in this world worthwhile. Make me shine my violet femme, my constellation, my flock of doves. Nothing owns me, only you.