Rise up and Know. {poetry}

{Photo credit: Heidi Fettig Parton}

{Photo credit: Heidi Fettig Parton}


On January 21, 2017, I took part in the Women’s March. Much-needed hope rose up within me while standing shoulder to shoulder with the women (and men) around me.

Marching together, we lifted each other up. Marching together, we validated the deeper knowing we’ve all been feeling. Marching together, we collectively agreed, “No, this is not normal.” In my own life, I’ve learned to listen to (and for) my intuition.

If I had followed my early intuitive knowing during my late twenties, I might have avoided being the victim of a rape (which is not, in any way, saying that I was to blame). In my thirties, I sensed that I was in a dangerous situation and managed to escape. Our collective intuition is now telling us that the situation unfolding around us is not right, even dangerous.

As democracy demands, we have peacefully passed the leadership baton. We cannot undo the election. Here’s what we can do: we can stay informed (reading reliable news sources), we can take our place in the emerging multitude of active, engaged, aware citizens, we can make sure we ‘know’.

Rise up and Know

“As as result of your ‘not knowing’, this country has lost its freedom, lost it for centuries, perhaps…” ~ Milan Kundera, The Unbearable Lightness of Being

Heart entwining chest wall, I made

                        my stumbling way up tired stairs

                                                to a comfortless, sleepless bed, where

                                                                        dreams flatlined on the night of the election.


I didn’t yet completely know that it was true,

                        but my inner knowing sucked at grief’s tendrils.

                                                I’d seen all that unpleasant vitriol and chest

                                                                        thumping in my life before; it was not unfamiliar.


Once again, the boys had been given a free pass,

                        to snap the girls’ bras at recess and

                                                I could see how it might be

                                                                        when the level-headed principal


was dismissed, allowing these peerless peers

                        to run the school themselves — a four-year

                                                Lord of the Flies experiment. Man-child

                                                                        demagogue firmly in place,


I can no longer escape memories of the rape

                        in my twenties, of a face-reddening crotch grab

                                                when I faced my locker at age thirteen,

                                                                        of the employer who said, “That’s what I get,


for hiring a woman,” he said that in 1998.


How proudly I wore my pantsuit on Election Day in solidarity

                        with my tribe — the one that would be electing Her.

                                                No matter how little or much we’d done to get her elected,

                                                                        we were certain that together we’d usher in a new matriarchy —


the headlines would read Madame President.


Now, our shared loss shows us how to

                        hold the others’ hands as we head out to the

                                                unsupervised playground with the mean boys wielding

                                                                        a self-proclaimed mandate for violence.


We grieve. But we will not stay down.

                        We will march together on this new front,

                                                rising strong in a call to action, this our

                                                                        mandate: To know and bear witness to


each crumpling little chink

                        to each fantastic tear

                                                to each assault on a sister or brother

                                                                       in this fading, still precious, democracy.


HeidiFettigPartonHeidi Fettig Parton is a mother of three who embraces career variety; she’s been a lawyer, a legal publisher, and a Yoga instructor. In recent years, she’s turned her focus towards writing, and anticipates receiving her MFA from Bay Path University’s Creative Nonfiction program in May 2017. She’s written for St. Croix 360, Angels Flight, literary west (AFLW), Elephant Journal, and mindbodygreen. This spring, she’s interning at Agate magazine. In her free time, Heidi enjoys reading, hiking, cross-country skiing, and taking photos of the beauty that surrounds her. You can find more of her writing at her website.


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