Poems by Laura Wolfe

Laura Wolfe – Laura J. Wolfe is an Illinois Writer, Artist and Counselor. Her poetry is often times birthed from daily and life changing experiences. Most recently, her writing has given voice to a place of physical pain and emotional angst as she journeyed through medical challenges. Her writing is a sacred and spiritual space where she encounters God, faith and courage to journey on and through.

Seeing The Unseen

Looking towards
a room
guarded by tradition,
routine check ins
outsiders not allowed
believing there is
no way to see
situation through
perspectives. Another one
enters, pointing at a
not seen
before. Quiet
to the crowds
coughing, murmurs
downward silence
marginalized–too many
nights, days sleeping
in the street–wondering
where next meal
is served–mouth
clenched fear
fills bellies. Betrayal
by hands
created to feed. Beauty
in the eyes
of brokenness–everyone
invited to feast
on hope–a banquet
of grace poured
in chalices of love
His banner over us
spreads–a covering
sacred–table set
for all
dine with acceptance.


We all started
from scratch—dust–hand mixed
with water
with Love’s lightning
wind’s thunder rocking
ground awakening new
seed roots
splaying as an infant’s
toes, fingers reaching
down pressing
earth to hand
to earth–rooted
in nutrients spoon
feedings for body
soul breathe
inhale deep
angels protecting
new life be


Su Abundancia

Imagine a thousand
puertas de alabanza
gratitude portals
praise tunnels
twirling, whirling
life sliding on
Light beams
veo Su Gloria
hearts open
spilling out
hands stretching
up–mouth wide
thanks given for all
dogs and sun
poses, inversions in
this journey creating
space between
toes, feet
grounded in
Your goodness
gracious diaphragm
Su abundancia.

Essence Prayer

Stepping a-
side shadows
splayed on path
tree limbs
lay side-
ways of being,
seen change—Light
dancing limbs
swaying on ground,
reaching up
on earth
as it is
in Heaven
seen change—Water
ripples like
angel’s wings
fluttering, continually
wood drifting
searching for
seen change—Life
dying to self
again a seed
breaking open
versus nature
is born

The Estate Sale

I went back
into the closet
my mother’s
clothes hanging
haphazardly, some
still with tags. I
have to say, “my mother
had a good eye–
fashionable.” Strangers
walk into
the house looking
through years of items
at stores–she could fill her-
self–a cart
overflowing. My gaze
returns to the closet–
sweaters, blouses, silk
scarves. I wrap
a blue one around my waist
covering my belly
button–hoping to close
a gap–fill a connection with
the mother I never had.

Dead Wood

How many times have I searched
over my shoulder, branches
in the distance–
intersect—strewn on road
a pick up game of
sticks pointing to
all directions. Scattered
I run—seeking
answers from all
points—minus my own
views. Desperate
breathe deep
which way did I come
from? where am I going
now? what am I doing
this moment. Fear fills
my belly
still after all
these years I try
figuring out why
I chose to play
games of diversion—
with dead wood.

Preparing Myself for the Page

Stepping inside
walls cold—slimy
jagged, smooth darkness
skirts around
me—taunting, poking
a finger shaking
up and down, “You’ve come
back.” It caws, tongue
clucking, pecking
as a chicken. It scratches
the ground—out of the corner
of murk I see
what I have come
to gather—dry bones
I nestle them in the crook
of my arm—as a mother
cradling her baby. I sway
back and forth searching
how many others still
asking for a voice—breaking
silence. It mocks
again, “You cannot resurrect
death!” “Watch me!”
I shout. Running towards the ladder
stumble, catching my
breath, Self, dry bones—steadying
I climb rungs
knowing some darkness
is worth exploring
if I have an escape
ladder to carry
me–out. Beginning anew
I spread dry bones
on the page.

Turning Towards

I feel high,
low tides wash over, under
feet–toes curl
wiggle sinking deeper
into warmth–surrounding sand–
castles built—hands touch
a moment
the grains mixed
with water—light
glistens as tiny flecks—
golden specks radiate
creation—invitation into
fingers kiss
a new blessing offered,
received. How many
I wonder? Missed
with back turned
down focus
on gathering up broken
shells—your lost pieces of
metal. No longer purposeful
I turn–again
seeking Light in
horizon colored
with hues of hope
another blessing

49 Graces and Counting

Many seasons
walking, clawing a
way out through your
darkness, claiming it
as my own. Identity–victim
wearing the cloak–shame
ravaging my essence, being
all I knew–a legacy
slapped on my back,
smeared over body–whole
hopeless. Was its name
calling, taunting
accusation “You are not good
enough!” I begin whispering,
speaking, shouting back. “No
one else has the power
to choose who–I am
a survivor
victor crowned–I am
diamonds from the dust–
shaken yet not removed
from my destiny–birthright
life! Living
eyes open
how many graces I have
been offered–received
in 49 years.
Running towards life–wearing gratitude,
my lungs filling
with air–a balloon floats
towards Heaven–open hands
I whisper, “Thank you
for all of it
has shaped me.” Light
nudges me gently
inviting me into
a new day.


Speaking my grandmother’s name still
brings tears—happy
years with unconditional love
splashed over me Holy
water touches my head,
heart, shoulders covered
of her devotion. I swam in oceans
riding the tides of shame—riptides
tugging me down—forcing
my body into a water tunnel
she rescued me—a life
guard—vigilant, pulling me back
to warm sand
castles built to show me
how to create a life
as a child–in the midst of
shifting sands.

Remember (Inspired by Bob Goff)

beaten down
palms press
on ground
I push
spirit rises
heat stirs
belly expands
breathe deep—
who you are…
light bearer
hope holder
truth teller


eyes wet


knowing the truth


wraps around


sets me

free to give

love others and

myself without judgment

fear of you–released

my hands open—palms up


An Opening
(A Haiku)

Magnolia buds
yawn, stretch, reach up, fall–present
life short live wholly.

I Know More About Goats…

Saturday, 7:12a.m.
phone rings. “You Remind Me
Who I Am” lyrics
playing. 888-DIRT–
compost truck in
transit. We both stir–
late night celebrating
birthday–stories, “I know more
about goats than you
do.” Luis comments to his wife. “Goats can
be feisty. Make sure to
not bend down with
your back to one.” Mentions Russ,
Andy and Debbie bring an offering–goat
cheese, asking about my new interest in
goats, maybe chickens. I am hoping for
organic milk, eggs. Laureen turns towards
Luis, “I know more about
giving birth than you do.” She smiles
taking a bite of Joy’s deviled eggs. In
between bites of GF carrot cake–I sit
rocking. These memories
forming as I breathe in
words float over, around
like bubbles. I catch one
not wanting it to pop. Holding still,
blowing out my candles
I pray to be present
in all of life–


A tree bare, stands
naked as a poet—witness
to a forgotten soul
truth. Is in the eyes
of the beholder or is that
beauty? Raw, natural, flawed–
words bending as a branch
stretching towards Heaven
falling gently, crashing
on the Earth–
of hearts. Testifying–
there is a time for everything
to rise up, live and be
released for another–

A Step (A found poem)

A JOURNEY of a thousand
miles begins with one
step. Growth occurs as a
upward loop not a straight
line. Don’t make me cross it
or else! When you see
crazy coming, cross
the street. “You’ve been down
there before Neo, you already know
that road. You know exactly where
it ends. And I know
that’s not where you want
to be.” Take a step
in the right direction, the
rest will fall into–
place. “There’s no
place like home, there’s no
place like home.” Your destiny
waiting for you, somewhere
over the rainbow, way up
high, and the dreams
that you dream once
in a lullaby. Hush
little baby, don’t you cry…
when you get to a place
where you understand that love
and belonging, your worthiness,
is a birthright and
not something you have to earn,
anything is

The Garden Box

Have you ever wondered
whether something you dreamt,
hoped for would come true? Like
a garden box, once only part of
a conversation—our imaginations
speaking about what our desires and questions—
for planting would look like. How big
would the box measure? What
type of wood would we choose? What
kind of environment would we create
for tiny seeds to take root
stretching deep into the soil? How
would we offer enough
sunlight, water, nutrients to–something living
protecting it from pestilence, drought, all
of the unknowns? There were many
questions, few guarantees for
the future. We both had attempted to control
for years prior when we had planted
gardens with others—separate locations
became what we knew–back then. Empty,
dry soil filled with garden beds of
what had died. Now an opportunity to resurrect
a new garden—together
on different land where what is hoped for,
imagined—stands waiting to be filled
with new soil and seeds.


Pull the brass knob–door closing
to the inside, I step outside–
cacophony of a washer, dryer, furnace– exchanged for
a symphony of nature orchestrated
by birds, leaves in the wind
chimes. Dance in the distance
a white horned owl, hoo
hooing greeting its lover
“protecting their babies” a neighbor
told us the other day. It lives in the pine
behind our house. We saw an owlet fall out
of its nest. We did not know
what to do next. We telephoned a place
in Geneva, they deal with this sort of thing.
Recommended gently picking up the creature
wrapped in a towel. If they were
able to reunite it with its mother
they would show up anytime
in our yard, climb the tree–
for reunification purposes. A couple of days
later they came with a ladder,
a large wooden box, nails,
a hammer and not one–yet two
baby owls…one biological, the other
soon to be adopted. Explaining how
owls accept those who have been abandoned
as their own. Carefully placing the owlets
inside their new nest. The parent owls
relocated—beginning anew–offering refuge
to all in the nest
who were called
their own.

No Regrets
(Inspired by Dorianne Laux’s poem “Antilamentation”)

Regret nothing. Not the cigarettes
you smoked at night after drinking
vodka and 7-up, mixed
with driving to a place
named home. Not the pseudo boyfriend
you let kiss you on a sofa
in the library where the books
held nameless secrets others
would never know. Not the corridors you
walked next to your father, mother,
siblings in the hospital—appointments
for family therapy. Not the lies whispered
about you, your sisters, your mother
believing that women are inferior. Not the
man pressing himself into you on the dance floor—
he was fifty, you were fifteen—on a trip
for your father’s business, him pushing you
towards his customers. Not the smiles you gave
into so the tears would not come—
never stopping. Not the watching
of your mother, eight and a half months pregnant,
opening the front door to the neighborhood–screaming,
“My husband is a liar, a wife hater…he abuses me,
the children!”
You were meant to walk through
the fires, lit by others, for a time
burning bushes—sacred ground—fallow
after all the flames. You came out,
unextinguished—your light continuing to shine
in the dark nights
of the soul. No mistakes lost,
only life lived on the rooftops, you shouting,
“I was born to be
here!” Opening a door,
you move towards a baby
crying for its mother, you whisper, “I’m here.”
Listen, can you hear? It is quiet…
peace. She knows
she will never abandon
nor forsake her own
self—after all these years
listen to her heart–pumping
strong with beatings—
rhythms of “Amazing
Grace” surrounding her.

“Owning our story can be hard but not nearly as difficult as
spending our lives running from it…Only when
we are brave enough to explore the darkness will we discover
the infinite power of our light.” – Brene Brown


A Conversation With Myself (Present day musings)

Chapter III

Gazing at the past—I see
pain of a heart broken
promises, learning to walk through—
carefully pushing on, an opening,
crawling through a door–encountering tenacity,
unstoppable, rising again, again and again. A voice,
a soul lifting song—sung first in silence,
head bowed, folded hands
as one. Uncertain how to form
the rhythms yet willing to learn
how to project sound, light—
words to share stories that speak
of life, death, joy, agony, peace
and war on the inside from a trauma–
impression left from outside. I see how
the brain is flexible–forming
connections, pathways—a superhighway is
constructed methodically, systematically over time. Integrating
one’s experiences with a map–old world meets
new. An opening, a crack
between boards of an old barn
where light splits the darkness—spilling
onto floorboards strewn
with straw. I bend down gently
pressing my fingers into the earth
mixing new seed with old soil
spreading straw around—
protecting its growth.
In the distance—I see
a farmer tilling
the fields. I understand,
it is time for planting

A Conversation With Myself (Continued)

Chapter II

I remember being you—riding
on a banana seat
bike with BIG pink flowers—flying
a kite catching a wave
of wind.

You always knew how to fly!

I remember being you—a number
on the scale, the doctor
telling your mother, “You must control
her eating, she is
too fat,”

Often times weight is a symptom
not the issue…no one explained
this at the time.

I remember being you—tiptoeing down
to the basement, frozen, dark
chocolate cookies–stuffing your mouth full
of control.

You are warm now—in the Light,
filled up and open.

I remember being you—walking
into Christmas in the living room,
receiving a Queen album—“Back Chat”
playing as your father drank.

You loved playing Queen…the front
room—a place where your father
stared at the fire
in your belly. A spirit rising
from the ashes.  

A Conversation With Myself

Chapter I

I remember being you—seeing
the younger me in a crib—crying, afraid
of a spider, a big hairy one. My mother
asleep next to him.

You were so brave to cry—children are supposed to
ask for what they need.

I remember being you—seeing
you run and hide in kitchen cupboards—praying
the monster in my nightmares would not
find me.

You knew how to protect yourself, even then.

I remember being you—seeing
you, standing alone in a corner
along the fence. The camp counselors coaxing me
to run through the sprinkler on a hot day—
in my underwear while others
wore their swimsuits.

You know that their shame is not yours to wear.

I remember being you—seeing
the younger me wearing purple
a gift from my father, my mother
in a psych ward.

You have always liked the Color Purple.

I remember being you—seeing
you trip over a metal mat—breaking
open the scab on my right knee
bleeding again.

You have bled many times and
you continue to heal.

You and Me

That day in the bushes—
as some call camping
we picked up where
sticks, branches, stumps—
dried leaves clumped on
decay from past seasons—
a natural homage to the many deaths
we had both lived in former
marriages. We spoke of love—
a present spark lighting
the future.

Amongst the White Pines, brush
crackling in the campfire, embers hot
like glass popping as a thousand stars
rising to the Heavens and falling
to the ground as ash—
covering the place where it was
birthed. The fallow ground of our lives
held a seed planted, watered,
nurtured in the light
taking root in a place, a space
deep inside each of us.

Your voice husky—as mens’ voices are
sometimes. You cleared your throat
saying, “I’ll be right back.” I watched you
walk away, as I had witnessed so many others
in my past. Promising to be different than those
who had come before. Yet, in the moon shadows
I saw your face return—
your strong shoulders holding hope
enough for both of us. You knelt down,
my hand finding yours—my heart
beating again to the rhythms
of “Yes!”

“A Path”

We all write our own lines
of poetry. Sweeping up the dust
that settles on our souls
from the past that was handed to us—some wrapped
like a baby swaddled and held
to the breast—nourished, feeding
on milk of nurturance and love. For others
receipt of a Barbie lunchbox with nothing,
no thermos, to place inside—internalize
for the life journey ahead.
“We are all called to responsibility,” I heard
someone say. Many years ago, “no matter
what you were given
as a child.” Catching a ball
I did not want to hold. Releasing what
was not mine to carry.

Traveling a path—twisted and remarkable—
as my childhood. Lies whispered in bedrooms,
shouted in the kitchen with knives—sharp—
cutting, a soul, a spirit—just because you could–
into a thousand little pieces. A pile,
beauty scattered on the floor. I tried to pick up
all of mine–all of theirs. I was unsuccessful with

Words haunt me…”help me, I need you…” same
song, millionth verse. As I walk the corridors
in another hospital, wondering why you have attempted
to take your life again. You think you have run out
of “Hail Mary’s” and “Amazing Grace.” All I know–
is whatever a soul has been given—or not,
gathering up the broken pieces, shards—stained
glass—creating a mosaic. It is often times
part of the healing–a life’s work.

“Can I Get a Witness?”

I am a witness to soul
stories—energy vibes, tides, rides of
the past, present and future. Life,
death and in between—I listen for
the rhythms of peoples’ spirits–speaking,
whispering, shouting, silent,
crying-out for more or less
of something that they crave—
or not.
I am a witness to movements
of the soul—that is the still
birthings, deaths, resurrections–openings of ways of being
on this planet, outside–
inside—oneself, with others and

I am a witness to my soul
stories—bubbling up, bursting
force—uncontained by a human
experience. Overflowing and saying,
“I am here and I will not abandon
I am a witness to my movements
of the soul—slowly all of a sudden
recognizing this dance as my own tribute
to the life that I have witnessed others live
for many years. Realizing
it is time to continue running towards
This Woman I call–
Self. Amen!

“Getting to Yes”

There are many ways to communicate
without words. A head nod, a pause—
to gaze at another’s
feet, or one’s own for that matter. Wide
smiles that stretch like Daytona
beach, waves dashing upon the shore
of another’s heart—a kiss
passion ignited as a bonfire
in the backyard, crackles as laughter
fills the trees and sky like
sparklers on Fourth of July. Wavin
a hand to greet, dismiss, push away,
pull towards—a hug,
nesting inside the arms of another
for a moment—a strong squeeze,
releasing arms, hands open
to the air, questioning, releasing a spirit
of worship. Daily rituals, traditions,
ways of being—fill a life
to overflowing as I tuck my chin to my chest,
lift my gaze to the Heavens—lowering
my head again—rising,
I hear my heart beat to the sound of…

“Mercy, Oh Mercy”

Standing on the home street
corners–preaching, teaching a gospel of
shame and stains–the law
of rules and condemnations–trying to coax
me into the box you have marked
“unworthy.” Uncertain I approach
believing, burdened, striving to reach
for the bar you have set higher
than the Heavens that you proclaim
to know. I trusted you!
I placed my hope in my ability
to change, rearrange, disengage with
myself. I rejected
all of me to believe in
the futility of you. Why? I ask
after all these years of trying, the dying
of me–do I still feel
the twisting in my stomach, writhing
like a den of snakes, waiting to poison
their victim?
I reached my hands up, pleading, needing,
a turn away from
the pit—inside my head, my body, ears
listening to a different voice—gentle—
filled with grace, love and
mercy…oh, mercy! You extended
your hand, offered
a ladder to climb out of the muck,
mire—stench clinging to my hairs.
I climbed out, saw you for the first time, the One
who rescued me from the grave—
my life. You stretched out
your hand, again. I saw
the strength you were offering
me. I cowered, covering my face–shame,
unable to trust your invitation. Tears,
fears, years flooded my soul
sobbing for all that I had lost and now—
found. Could I be?
Looking back at the ground—a hollow cave—
filled with shadows and lies. My breathe
slowly deeper, my vision cleared and I saw
the hem of your robe. My thoughts crowded around,
pressing in, I wondered what would happen if
I reached out to touch it. Feeling light course through
the top of my head to the bottom
of my toes, my feet
grounded firmly in the essence of who I am
created to be. I searched for—condemnation
in your eyes—seeing
only love, grace and mercy—
oh, mercy…reflected back to me
after all the years of trying to
return to the truth of who I knew myself
to be—finally at rest with me—
Redemption had come and
I accepted.

This I know…

I found you!
In the forest
deep—on a cradle of roots where life
is nested, established, a firmament—
sacred ground. The Common
Yellowthroat is heard singing–amongst the white pines,
sugar maples, blue ashes casting shade on
your body– bruised
knees, face
swollen as a puffer fish—defensive
spirit from too many attempts
to push away the breathing
of another on your chest.
Kneeling on knees, my hands
extend out towards you—an invitation to come
as you are, broken—a prisoner in your own
mind now. I begin to speak,
my voice audible as I tell you the “Allegory
of the Cave.” How you are safe outside,
unshackled, free from the shadows
of what used to define you.
A wolf howls in the distance—
calling to its pack—your head turns towards
the sound. Marking a new territory
of hearing, seeing and
being in the world.

“This is…”

This is what I’ve seen…
there are fathers who turn door knobs–sneaking
into their childrens’ bedrooms uninvited
at night, as a hoarder of souls, to make
an offering–a seed planting
a shoot, a root, a legacy—
power and control.
This is what I know…
souls are resilient, they fight to heal,
mend up—pull together all of the broken
pieces to form a life—full
of color, shape and form—substance.
This is what I’ve seen…
there are mothers who turn their backs
pretending not to see, hear or smell
the stench of lies—like refuse
staining the walls and floors of
a place called home.
This is what I know…
the truth will set us free. Not all at once
yet little by little—like a ripening
peach, its juice spilling over
the edges of a mouth—filling up—
This is what I’ve seen…
there are sisters who try to survive
attempting suicide—over and over
again. Hoping to uproot
the pain, trying to scrub off
the stains that were never theirs
to claim.
This is what I know…
telling our stories breaks the cycle—shame
that is. Giving voice to the past, present and future creating
a path—not necessarily an easy one, yet
honest—like someone telling the truth
after lying.
This is what I’ve seen…
there are brothers who fall silent,
listening to the loud whispers—
feeling tormented and powerless
to change the course—of history
they witness as the fathers,
mothers and sisters journey as families
of self-destruction.
This is what I know…
our beginnings do not need to define
our endings—nor the journey
in between. Each life is a precious—
gift, that may be planted,
uprooted and replanted into a place, a space,
a family of its own choosing.


Pushing–a head
crowning, sliding through a corridor to
life, outside the warmth of
the womb. A vessel filled
with watery wetness, a container
for perfection–a “being”
arrives–full, covered in the precious blood
of the one who has held her inside
for a time.
She inhales deeply as her husband slaps
her butt, tenderly–
opening her mouth, she cries. Words
moving from inside–outside
on a page–finding a new place
to nestle,
to be.
A white canvas–swirling around water
with a paintbrush. Mixing colors
from her imagination she begins. Across,
up, down–exploring
a new way of seeing,
being in
the world.
Listening to her story, she leans in–
hands open to receive
a truth that has incubated inside
for too long. Her sorrow–
pushing through tears, fears, years
of hiding, shame and pain
released today as a new
is born.

“I’m Listening”

I awake often in the middle–somewhere
between the moonlight and the sun, rising
to an invitation–my soul
whispers, “I have something to say, it’s
important.” I have learned to listen to
its stirrings–gentle murmurs like
water with warmth
underneath beginning to simmer.
My soul’s voice rises–
bubbling up and over as
a stream searching for and finding
its way–in, around, under,
The scenery changes–a lake placid
one moment, waves crashing
the next–lines filled with the ebb
and flow of life,
death and joy,
sorrow and hope–loving
spaciously, graciously.
Drops of rain tapping on the roof
above my head. Staccato, high, low,
sharp, flat, minor, whole–fall
like music notes full–to over-
flowing as George Frideric
Handel’s “Water Music” plays
in an inner room.