The Words She Didn’t Say

She wanted to speak, but the words wouldn’t come.

They stuck in her mind like pavement to gum.

Release me, release me the words cried today.

I’m afraid, she said, as she held them at bay.

We will be heard, they told her with force.

She shook her head to quiet their source.

They rattled around in the core of her brain,

But got up again and began to raise Cain.

Leave me alone, she shouted out loud.

They mocked her and told her they came in a crowd.

So even if caught and turned  out to sea,

Others would come and one day be free.

It must be the holidays because I’ve just written a poem with the same meter as ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas. Good Lord.

My usually introspective self typically becomes more reflective during the holiday season, and I believe this poem officially crosses the line to brooding.  However, Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday of the year, and Teresa and I once again look forward to making the trip to the Upstate to spend an evening with her family in the recreation hall of the First Baptist Church of Fingerville, South Carolina.  Even if I didn’t love her family, I’d go to a Baptist Church with that name.

To everything there is a season, and this is the season for being thankful before the madness that is Christmas and New Year’s Day overwhelms us.  My wish for each of you is the familiar admonition to count your blessings and name them one by one. And if there are words you want or need to say to someone, set them free.

From our family to yours – have a safe and Happy Thanksgiving!


I published this originally in 2013 and read it now with fresh eyes and less brooding, but still sadness for the losses of many friends and family members to Covid in the past year including three of Pretty’s aunts (Iris, Thelma and Cooter) who always made our Thanksgiving experience at the First Baptist Church of Fingerville a special time. We give thanks for them today, and I dedicate this post to their memories.

About Sheila Morris

Sheila Morris is a personal historian, essayist with humorist tendencies, lesbian activist, truth seeker and speaker in the tradition of other female Texas storytellers including her paternal grandmother. In December, 2017, the University of South Carolina Press published her collection of first-person accounts of a few of the people primarily responsible for the development of LGBTQ organizations in South Carolina. Southern Perspectives on the Queer Movement: Committed to Home will resonate with everyone interested in LGBTQ history in the South during the tumultuous times from the AIDS pandemic to marriage equality. She has published five nonfiction books including two memoirs, an essay compilation and two collections of her favorite blogs from I'll Call It Like I See It. Her first book, Deep in the Heart: A Memoir of Love and Longing received a Golden Crown Literary Society Award in 2008. Her writings have been included in various anthologies - most recently the 2017 Saints and Sinners Literary Magazine. Her latest book, Four Ticket Ride, was released in January, 2019. She is a displaced Texan living in South Carolina with her wife Teresa Williams and their dogs Spike, Charly and Carl. She is also Naynay to her two granddaughters Ella and Molly James who light up her life for real. Born in rural Grimes County, Texas in 1946 her Texas roots still run wide and deep.
This entry was posted in family life, Lesbian Literary, Life, Personal, Reflections, Slice of Life, The Way Life Is, The Way Life Should Be and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

9 Responses to The Words She Didn’t Say

  1. Bob Slatten says:

    Happy Happy Thanksgiving !!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Wayside Artist says:

    Your words, your poem, are just as poignant today as 9 years ago. This holiday is especially bittersweet for you, Pretty, and her family. May we all speak words of love and thanks to help heal a year full of hurt and disappointment.

    Happy Thanksgiving!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Wonderful words. Makes me think of the people crossing the water from France to the UK. They do keep coming however many perish.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Happy American Thanksgiving! Safe travels and a lovely visit 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  5. cindy knoke says:

    So moving. Happy Thanksgiving to you and Pretty! 🙏🦃🥧🌽🍾🥂

    Liked by 1 person

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