make believe treehouse


animal’s strokefists cannot permeate the small treehouse in my mind where poppa’s smell of crushed sage and honey decorate the walls with warmth. i climb the heavy branches and press my feet against the grooves in the bark until i enter the soft cushion of his smell. it whispers love and i release my broken self and gently place it on the floor. i shrink into gingerbread size and enclose myself here.

soon i hear the sound of daddy coming home from work. i tip toe rush into his arms and he swings me around like a paper doll. he ruffles my hair and calls me sunshine. animal, daddy, and i sit at a tiny table stump. we eat banana nut bread together as daddy teaches animal the boundaries of touch. animal’s docile here and wags his head back and forth in awe of daddy. he helps me clear the table and then i put him in his pink cage. i give him a treat and pat his head and he smiles up at me.

we are only a family here — in the confines of these branches, the only place i can make sure daddy takes his lithium pills. daddy doesn’t beatbeatbeat animal (and animal, in turn, doesn’t beattouch me) because he can control the jazz in his mind before it becomes too frenzied, too intense, like it is about to ooze his brain cells out of his ear. he doesn’t slip so far below the bottom that he cannot get out of bed, loses his sixth job in the past three months, and leaves animal and i to find a way to keep the bill hunters away. he is our lion daddy here and finally he protects us.


an extension of the characters in jasmine.

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Published by lissa e.

Lissa's offerings include integrative mental health care, meditation and movement (yoga, qigong, intuitive) guidance, writings, and community facilitation offered in a compassionate, trauma-responsive, and racial and social justice-oriented framework as part of a lifelong mission to reduce suffering for all beings.

18 thoughts on “make believe treehouse

  1. heartbreaking, I think of it as from a child’s point of view and how she sees her daddy, how her words don’t always mean the reality that she is really in, maybe she lives between reality and fantasy but always knew which is real, am I reading too much into this?

    anyway great story


  2. as was the case with jasmine before,, this feels as if it is a piece of the narrator,, as if it is being dredged up,, and replayed at a later time,, full of the life that only hindsight can add in order to make a remembrance livable…

    excellently written lissa….


  3. poignant. touches my heart, truly the places you allow
    your words to go, the honesty and braveness you possess
    is astounding Lissa. And then to write so very well, each
    piece clean and thorough, without a drop of emotion or
    yourself left out. Again Lissa you have a delicate way with
    your pen, that expresses sorrow but always within that
    sorrow a hopefulness, a coping with the life we are dealt,
    instead of whining you make beauty. Instead of skidding the surface you dive in . Love your poems and your spirit!


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