copyright Erin Aurelia 2019


I had to light a match

            To escape

To find a way


Of this mineshaft of a marriage






By promises of gold

            No gems to be had


I had to light a match

            To see at last

The cracks

            In the scaffolding


                        Under the weight

Of illusions      and the

            Pieces of all my boundaries

Dismantled and stacked like Kindling

On bleeding knees I

            Crawled toward


Signaling in the dim


Trusting their faint heat

            Still warmer

                        Than anything here


Finally stood on

            Damp earth smelling of

                        New life

I had to throw down

            That match –

Burn down the

            Remnants of what

                        Imprisoned me –

Offer it up to

            Gods of survival and


            In gratitude for release

I had to throw down

            That match

To fire a wall of


                        Around me

A membrane of flame

            No poison

                        Shall cross again

And those stars threw

            Down their flames

            Into that field of dead corn

Setting alight

            The corpses of those

                        Illusions which had burned me


            They became Torches

Leading me to


Leaving a toxic, abusive relationship is hard. On average, women return to their abusive partners seven times before they leave for good. There are many reasons women remain and return— lack of funds, supportive child care, and independent sustainable income; receiving the message that they are incapable of surviving on their own; and the intermittent reinforcement of hot and cold treatment in such relationships which actualy creates the same effect in the brain as a chemical dependence. Toxic relationships are an addiction where the toxic partner is both the drug and the dealer, and women remain in hopes of another hit of love, not knowing when it, or, what the abuser mimics as love, will come. So much of their abuser’s behavior is one form or another of manipulation, whatever guise it takes in any given moment, especially when dealing with narcissists and sociopaths. I’ve learned with such people that everything is an act, nothing is sincere, because they are incapable of sincerity. That is the pathway out of the mineshaft of the toxic relationship. Of course, men also suffer from toxic relationships and partners, so these things apply to them as well, although some of the challenges noted above in leaving are often more applicable to women.

We are lured in by promises of treasure. They are empty promises forever going unfulfilled inside a dark chasm where the exit is often obscured.

Instead, through the darkness of my abuse, and the deep dark of myself where I found a small flame still guttering after all, I discovered my gold in the form of the return of my poetry as I write myself back to wholeness.

Gold is also used in the Japanese artform of Kintsugi, meaning, “golden repair.” It is an ancient technique used to reassemble broken pottery by pouring liquid gold into the seams, rendering the repaired product even more beautiful than it was before breakage.

The root of the name Aurelia is ‘aurum,’ meaning ‘gold’ in Latin. My golden treasure of poetry, and seams of poetic gold repairing my shattered soul, are my inspiration for taking this name under which to write and share my poems.

May you all find your own treasure, and shine like gold.