When rings the hour of surrender? When to
toe the final line; spit up the white flag; or madly
dig a mouth that can blurt you out in escape?
You can’t get away without running and
running                                    would alert them.
            Hold up, okay?

(You wouldn’t get far anyway. Your breath
packed up and left when the children swam off
like fishes and your bellyfolds sagged slack
with the catch and release; your itching
skin                                         hatching
          unlickable wounds

legs ground down by ceaseless pacing,
stressing through infinities of minutes you barely
recollect apart from those whose bony steps
pressed right through the rampant cellulite                           
of your life                              and left
          some vicious tracks).

Like a fractious wolf obsessed with its own tail,
her digestion so troubled that she swallow rocks;
or like a hamster derailed and lacking the pre-
requisite frail, Lexan bubble, how does one pivot
and turn                                   to face
            what's left?

Understanding at last that you can’t survive behind
your fort's peeling tar-paper wall and barred
door if your mind’s over the wire; that maybe
surrender’s not suicide after all, but a
relief: not                                 weakness, but
            a breather?

though sensitivity and self-dissection may yet re-
align over time, no longer forcing me to note
their specious cohabitation, what they've left
behind seems facetious, if taken as my omen:
a solitary                                 isolated tealight
            (the soul?)

bobs afloat in purple dusk; then winks out
in a sniff. All knowledge, instinct, belief, education
and control, like a thousand rocks from a crippled
old wolf’s regurgitation skip, then sink,
ripples             fading                          slowly,
            into an ink-black lake.

Decades ago, kerry rawlinson gravitated from sunny Zambian skies to solid Canadian soil. Now returned her muses an unmitigated optimist, she's the winner of Postcards, Poems & Prose's “drawkcaB” Contest; was a finalist in Ascent Aspirations; Mississippi Valley; Malahat Review Open Season and Hawai’i Review Contests; and long-listed for 2015 National Poetry Contest of the UK. Poems, some with artwork, accepted by: Midwest Quarterly; ditchpoetry; 3Elements Review; Main Street Rag; Unshod Quills; War, Literature & the Arts; Codex. amongst others. Photo-artwork publications: Qwerty; WaxPoetry & Art; Adirondack Review; AColorProject, Five on the Fifth; The Peachland View front page, Nov. 14, 2014; Peachland Art Gallery Exhibition. See everything at