Introducing our latest Featured Artist, Kathy Parker!

Wildlings, come and meet our latest Featured Artist, the incredible Kathy Parker!

Kathy Parker is a writer, poet and spoken word performer from South Australia.

Kathy’s poems are raw, emotional and unapologetic; encompassing themes such as trauma, abuse, domestic violence, body image, self-worth, love, loss and healing. She writes from the heart of a survivor and warrior; confronting the brokenness of her life while leaving others empowered to overcome the brokenness of theirs.

When not writing poetry, Kathy is a contributor for Network Ten’s news website, 10 Daily, with work also published at SA Life Magazine, Elephant Journal, The Mighty, The Minds Journal, and Thought Catalog. Visit her website

Today we are lucky to introduce Kathy with a previously unpublished poem, And This Dead Bird Belongs To Me.

And This Dead Bird Belongs To Me

My mother pulls at the skin of her lips.

On stage, the poet speaks of legacy;
generations woven together
with tight-knit threads of belonging
and I imagine what it must be
to taste such pride upon a tongue;
swallow its goodness
until the hunger pains of
are silenced beneath my sternum.

I read an article about the
second-hand dangers of alcohol;
that children in alcoholic families
suffer trauma
as acute as soldiers in combat; how
they carry the trauma their entire lives
like an albatross around their neck
and I realise this is the legacy
I have been given; a dead bird
I beat against my chest
declaring, this is mine,
all the while pretending
the splinter in my mother’s flesh
has not become the spear through mine.

My mother pulls at the skin of her lips
until they bleed and it takes me years
to understand
this is how she keeps her hands busy.

They say children of alcoholics
are four times more likely
to suffer addiction
but I have learned this isn’t true;
that if I tie control around my body
like a straightjacket
it will restrain the chaos inside of me;
that if I say a drink poured
is just a moment of weakness
and not one of truth
then I can pretend I’m able to stop
when I want to
even as I don’t know how to, and

I pull at the threads of my healing
the same way my mother pulls
at the skin of her lips;

with restless hands that unravel
the deception sewn through my mouth
every time I have said
I am not her
even yet as I have hidden another
empty bottle
beneath a wastebasket of lies;
what magic to be both victim
and one who revictimizes herself;
to take the bones of this dead bird
and sculpt them
into the outline of a woman
I can only hope to be

all the while forgiving
the one I have been.

They say the opposite
of addiction is not sobriety;
but choice.
I cannot apologise for the ways
I have chosen to survive until now;
how I have improvised
on the field of a war
I was not trained to fight,
hoping my wounds will hold together
to not bleed on the same ground
my children will one day walk upon;
but this legacy
is still mine to choose -
whether to break generational cycles,
or be broken by them.

I pull at the threads of my healing
and stumble over them.

I tie the ends, and carry on.

I want to pay tribute to this quote from Elizabeth Strout, whose words were the inspiration
and cornerstone of this poem: “But I think I know so well the pain we children clutch to our
chests, how it lasts our whole lifetime, with longings so large you can’t even weep. We hold it
tight, we do, with each seizure of the beating heart: This is mine, this is mine, this is mine.”