Mary Julia Klimenko

This Fear

I am the daughter
my mother never
wanted. Trust was an illusion,
how the painting of a blue bowl
isn’t a bowl of blue flowers.
She twisted rags into my straight hair,
insisting on curls. I made a kite
with sticks I never had, with nails
I couldn’t find, with rags from my hair.
I became a kite, riding wind high
until I was nothing, a speck
tracing the river to the mouth
of the sea. I didn’t need
to paint the river. The river I could trust.

Mary Julia Klimenko obtained her BA & MA in Creative Writing from San Francisco State University where she taught Creative Writing for two years before returning to school to get a Master’s Degree in Counseling Psychology. She divides her time between her private psychotherapy practice and writing. She has a chapbook published by Spire Press, Source Vein, has published in numerous literary journals, and has three limited edition books in print in collaboration with artist Manuel Neri. She’s been his primary model and collaborator for the past four decades. You can email her at

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