Thai-Lynne Lavallee-McLean, Greeting the Storm Part I


Altered consciousness
either soaking wet or bone-dry and resentful
wanton sea waves crashing
or ambivalent crackling tumbleweeds.
I dream about my mother’s hands, fluid
and wide to hold my smiles in
and ghosts follow in my little earthquakes
to whisper every word
that laps at my lips and tongue
but never has the courage to reach her ears –
the things that weigh upon us
heavy and perpetual,
and shadows beneath every footstep.
The great Teflon mother, singular
only child daughter
and we sing together, my daughters to sleep
with lullabies, timeless
trees hanging low with the space between us,
I can only hope my blue-eyed girls
leave my heart intact as I failed to with hers,

her empty nest a void, her ribcage lonely
like the wind through tall grasses
in which we lay, smoking.
I am she and they are me
and our sun sweet hair and skin
smell the same.

Ask me again

“Are you happy?”
“Are you glad you stayed?”
I imagine tiny baby son,
huge blue eyes and sweet blond curls.
Yes, of course.
For his tiny armpits and chubby little knees,
his reaching arms for me
and his searching mouth
and eyes crinkled in a morning smile.
For those things I am glad.
But my lungs are still compressed,
short of breath,
my heart weighed down
and gradually my dreams taste
like raindrops and roiling seas,
crested waves and storm clouds
gathering in the night wind.
What can there be but longing,
secret and unfurled, whose worst
enemy is complacency
and two sets of headphones.
A sea bird taking flight,
stretching wings above
what others leave behind,
biding time and building a nest
to shelter her tiny ones.
When freedom is but writing on the wall,
whose heart is whose,
and which of us is silent?

Lower-case dreams

she is small
with ample folds and rolls
to fill her insides
weighed down by this outer shell
that prickles with consistent
anxious restlessness
like the clouds
that hang low, unendurable
pushing her inch by inch
into icing sugar sand lapped by clear blue waves
and ceaseless skies
she dreams of wrought-iron balustrades
climbing vines
above bourbon street
cobbled roads
hanging baskets of begonias
in another life, alone
with her grandmother’s typewriter
in another time
she made a different choice
trading poems with square brackets
and flirtatious lack of punctuation
for a heart like sand
drifting rhythmically away
from everything
that made her who she was
by the thick breeze
floating off the Mississippi
and while regret tastes bitter
like waking from a dream
where creativity and independence
are not discarded
with the dirty diapers
and society’s vision
of her self-worth.


reclined, she sits
legs open to his grace
with pages open
and pen poised above
eyes impregnated with disquiet
drawing breath
belly swollen and too round, by far
to please
to move my pen I stretch
my phantom limbs
and weave through honeycombs
dripping down
unravelled, over parted lips
she’s come undone
flesh spilling over wedding bands
and digging in
where I imagined I would be
deserving, justified
content leaning on the taste of
bittersweet and teflon sisterhood
sun, dancing on water
blinds us, burns
but our hearts are drowned
in alabaster reeds

Thai-Lynne Lavallee-McLean writes from home while caring for her three children. Part-time, she is working on her Bachelor of Arts degree with a Major in English. As a teen, she attended YouthWrite summer camp for young writers, where she studied under renowned Canadian writers. Thai-Lynne has recently had a story published that appeared in an anthology at the end of May, and a poem published by Borrowed Solace magazine. 

Read Part II here.

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