His fingers twist into my mind,

crushing my courage into splinters of tin.

He calls me feeble as I weep and choke.

I tumble into the pitch.


Falling through tendrils of despair,

he grabs my feet and

pulls me under jagged waves,

a rage of teeth slicing  

through my papery shell.


Voices erupt in a frenzy that crashes

into walls slathered in misery.

He turns my fingertips to ash

and batters my bones,

until the ache is unbearable.


I unravel in his palm, a plaything

for him to mock and cajole.

He locks the doors with dead bolts

and tears out my peach pit heart.


His grasp is ruthless and breaks

me into fragments of hopelessness

that sink through cracks in the floor.

I scramble to gather the pieces

and build a fortress to strangle

the embers of self-loathing.

Thoughts of escape are threads

that snag and pull on my skin.


A sprig of light trickles onto

my tongue and I close my mouth

around the possibility of hope.

I writhe and kick through

shattering anguish, climb out of the

dark throat of depression

and bare my shoulders to the sun.

Susan Richardson is living, writing and going blind in Hollywood. She was diagnosed with Retinitis Pigmentosa in 2002 and much of her work focuses on her relationship to the world as a partially sighted woman. In addition to poetry and short-fiction, she writes a blog called Stories from the Edge of Blindness.



Susan Richardson



December 2017

Produced from 100% Everything

Literary Juice

Photography by Jim Zola.