Caseworker Arrives,

Catherine Zickgraf


 HaTe in their hearts bloomed
becAuse I couldn’t sleep. Now
I Kneel and they belt me,
thEy cleanse me from sin—
So I can come home again.

Minding my manners,
bEing nice, I’ll share.

And so let me have my bed,
aWaking every morning and
Always knowing where I am.
TheY will rage, but I won’t tell.

(Late, she cycled against her moon,
Unraveled like a runaway, warned
Never to come home divorced and
Addicted, lesbian or poorly-yoked.
They trained her to take a berating
If they called her behavior unholy,
Cut off her own talk with her God.)

I’ll never turn out to

Be anything they
Expect of me. If I
Left and tried to fly
Over the homes and
Nests seeking out
God and His mercy,

Neither could my soul
Open its wings nor
Walk the miles home.


Catherine Zickgraf has performed her poetry in Madrid, San Juan, and three dozen other cities—yet homeschooling her autistic youngest inspires her the most. Her writing has appeared in the Journal of the American Medical Association, [Pank], Victorian Violet Press, and The Grief Diaries. Find her at

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