A Poem by Tammy Perlmutter

by: Tammy Perlmutter

Tammy Perlmutter’s poem is a harrowing account of a young woman’s rejection of a damaged life and culture for an uncertain, but hopefully better, future…

A Poem by Tammy Perlmuter


She walks away from the trailer park
The Nobility double wide,
turning into spark and smoke
roaring and crackling
lighting her way
casting shadows that hover and slink.

She passes the pond
that mixes county water with
her grandma’s ashes,
leaving behind the greenhouse
with the windows as jagged and broken
as her mama’s teeth.
The house no longer green
nor a house
but only slanting steel skeleton
obscured by vegetation
once cultivated
now consuming.

She is walking away
Girl Scout style,
a compass on the
inside kind of a girl
who knows that true north
is as elusive as luck,
as far away as her own heart.
But she walks anyway
past truck stops,
hardware stores,
dive bars.

This girlchild is
already gone to the lowest bidder.
And when he is gone
her heart shakes loose a little
in her ribcage,
like shrapnel emerging,
sharp like memory,
rattling so loud
she wraps her arms around her knees
to keep the sound in
and the eyes away.


Tammy Perlmutter writes about unabridged life, fragmented faith, and investing in the mess at her blog Raggle-Taggle. She is the founder of The Mudroom, a collaborative blog, creating space for the mess. Tammy writes flash memoir, personal essay, poetry, leads writing groups, and guest posts a bit. She will have an essay included in Soul Bare, being published by InterVarsity Press in 2016.


2 replies on “A Poem by Tammy Perlmutter”
  1. says: Art Rosch

    Oh, just lovely, Tammy. I know some Perlmutters. Larry P was the star pitcher on our Khoury League baseball team. A long time ago. Which has naught to do with your great and touching poem that contains many widths and breadths of brush, from a single hair to a whopping horsetail, all in the service of poetry-as-painting pictures, which you have done with stunning success.

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