Closeup of Mosaic Dragonfly by Susanne Sorogan; full photo from mosaicartsupply.com

Hold my heart
hold it gently and with great care
Hold the pieces
with open grasp
Careful lest the fragments

cut you
with their brokenness
Watch the light glint
off the edges
Glimpses of beauty

in the shards
the strength in
the shattering
the hope found in

the wisdom in
the cracks
the magnificence of

our remnants
the brilliant mosaic of
our coming together

-KJ Roe




Where do we go from here?

Mother returns to an empty house,
the spaces inside crying to be filled
and the quiet scares her

Father closes doors on sleeping angels,
dreading the loneliness of next week
and planning excess to fill the void

Friends debate calls and texts
footing unsure as balance is lost
each tries to find solid ground again

Lovers wait and watch and hold
their hearts within walls,
seeing love slip through their fingers

Anxious, hurting, frightened
we wave false flags of victory
over the ashes of our hope and trust

Families crumble under the weight
of broken promises and kept lies
and injuries never asked to be forgiven

Pain of emotions and thinking
steal color from the sky
and burn the liquid from the eyes

Stereotypes and scapegoats fill the feed
arbitrary lines of Side A or Side B smother the brave and the free

Blocking the exits for thought
no view of a bigger picture
as the blinders are pulled tight

Boundaries multiply exponentially
highlighting divisiveness and
burying brotherly love

Value our diversity becomes scalding
don’t you dare think differently
and our strength becomes frailty

Crushed by disjointedness and
suspicion and drama-fed fears
tourniquet squeezing every breath

Blinded, we thrash about wildly
reaching for any safehold
grasping the tails of sharks

Mistaking the hunter for
beloved rescuer as he
smiles and chews our limbs

And nodding sagely, smugly,
we watch our brethren sink
under the load of our

hemorrhaging condemnation

-KJ Roe




[not] alone


If you know me, you know I try to be considerate of everyone I meet. If you really know me, you know I try to find beauty and joy in each day.

And if you really, really know me, you know I get nervous around people I don’t know, anxious with confrontation, and that I struggle with my own sense of self-worth. As in, really struggle. That there are more days than I’d like to admit when I wonder what my purpose is for being here.

I’ve been working on opening up more about this, on putting a name to the shadow as a means of identifying it as just that – a shadow that can be banished by the light.

In admitting my own fears, what I’ve found is that there are so many of us out there. So many of us who are uncertain, and maybe a little scared, and maybe a little sad, and fighting demons of loneliness and self-doubt.

In fact, based on the responses I’ve had, I’d venture to say that it may even be a large percentage of us.

By opening up about my own uncertainties, other people have felt more comfortable talking about theirs.

And guess what?

There are lots of us.

Which means two things.

First, there is something wrong with the messages we, as a society, give to each other about vulnerability and sadness.

We’re not “supposed to” be scared or lonely or anxious; we’re “supposed to” be tough, and smart, and happy, and self-confident, and completely comfortable both in a crowd and being alone – and so we all cover up our “weaknesses.” Which only compounds the impression of being the only one struggling with these thoughts and emotions.

Second, that we are not alone. So many of our friends and loved ones often feel the same way, but we’re all hiding it, trying to be tough.

Often, people say that the hardest thing is feeling so alone, like there is no one out there who feels the way they do, who understands what they are going through. But so many of us feel that way.

Your “alone” might feel different than my “alone,” but for both of us, it can be soul-wrenchingly aching, bone-deep painful, and sometimes creates a curtain of bleakness that shrouds the view of the future. It can make it extremely difficult to look forward to the coming days.

But it’s lying.

There is hope in the future.

There is light in your life.

There is joy yet to be had.

I saw a challenge in which a person identifies one word to focus on, one word to try to live for this year. If there is a word that resonates with you, that helps you meet the challenge of another day, I encourage you to focus on that. Let it become your mantra. Let it be your reminder, when things get hard, that you are not alone, that you are stronger, and that you will make it through. Post it on your bathroom mirror and on your car visor and on whatever you look at at work. Flood your environment with it to continually lift you.

If there is not a word that helps you, I invite you to share the word I’ve chosen:


Believe in your own worth.

Believe in the beauty of your unique soul.

Believe in the unfathomable greatness of your heart.

Believe in the very real magic and value of your presence.

Believe in the brilliant light that is your future.

Believe that you are never alone, no matter what the shadows might try to tell you.

And believe that you, one-and-only, amazing you – believe that you have a purpose and a reason for being here.

May you have a beautiful and blessed 2018.

-KJ Roe




Butterfly woman
Image from https://goo.gl/images/j4B4Ez   PC: Unknown

Soft and pliant
No shield
No boundaries
No protections
Now hidden, now enwrapped
As a being ensorcelled
Cocooned in layers
A chrysalis of experiences
Of losses
And breakings
And shatterings
Now emerging, now changed
A creature unexpected
Broken from layers
A freedom of scars
– They didn’t warn of the pain.

-KJ Roe


How to Have a Camping Mis-Adventure in 20 Simple Steps


1. Overpack, because you love food and that’s what you do.
2. Bring along an extra kid and an extra dog. Because that’s what you do.
3. Feel slight panic set in as you pull into the camp spot just this side of nowhere because your oil light (the bad, scary one) starts flashing right as you get there.
4. Check the oil. Curse inwardly or outwardly, doesn’t matter, because the dipstick is DRY.
5. Curse some more because you had your oil changed exactly one week ago.
6. Pray for cell phone signal and call your personal rescue team because you’ve now reached the limits of your mechanic skills, cuss words and all.
7. Make arrangements for rescue the next day. Because it’s late and you were already planning on camping. And you’re an Alaskan girl.
8. Set up camp, complete with a half-baked tarp cover and a very sad little fire. Because you’re not the *perfect* Alaskan girl.

9. Enjoy campfire-cooked dinner and dessert. Realize that you did not over- pack because, contrary to popular belief, teenage girls eat just as much as teenage boys.
10. Realize your crew is the bear bait of the little campground because you’re the only ones tent-camping. Review bear spray usage with kids.
11. Relax lake side, watch the changing light and reflections, take pictures, write a bit. Breathe. Because all of this – God and nature and beauty – is bigger than broken vehicles.
12. Sleep in a tent full of three people, three dogs, and stuff. Because that’s clearly what they meant when they diabolically slapped a label on it that said “3-Man Tent.”
13. Wake up every time the dogs growl. Because now you’ve given yourself bear-anoia. And a small-caliber pistol doesn’t phase a bear.
14. Wake up at an ungodly hour, because  apparently teens don’t sleep in when you actually want them to, and discover your bra strap mysteriously broke while you were not wearing it and while you were sleeping. Laugh. Because life.
15. Make breakfast, periodically pulling at your broken bra, wishing you had Irish cream for your coffee. Because camping.
16. Kayak for a bit while waiting to be rescued. Because kayaking. Also, see #11 above.
17. Experience a somewhat tricky rescue, including multiple trips for the rescuer and barely getting the vehicle (topped by a kayak) on the trailer. Because life. And because family rocks.
18. Return to town and call on parts to discover the one you need has to be ordered from out of state. Because Alaska.
19. Rescuer fixes car with substition. Because he’s determined, might have witnessed a frustrated tear or two, and because Alaskans make things work.
20. After many prayers and almost as many cuss words, return home, run a bath, write a ridiculously long post, and find that Irish cream. BECAUSE.
-KJ Roe



How does one come to this?
Child of the woods,
Running, leaping, hunting, fishing
Self-sufficient from early days
Sleeping in the open
Since four years old
So much knowledge
Wisdom gained
Skills passed on

Eight decades plus
Of independence
And contriving
And economy
Respect for the hunted
Love for the weaker
And food set out
For small creatures.

How does one come to this?
Entrapped by walls,
Groaning, cursing, mumbling, stuck
Pained dependence these later days
Sleeping in restriction
Eighty-four years old
Jumbled knowledge
Wisdom fogged
Skills confounded

Chronos counts in days
Of helplessness
And painfulness
And expense
Afraid as the hunted
Ashamed to be weaker
And food set out
For small creatures.