Lee Rolnick

I am a transplant from the East Coast, but most of my adult life has been spent in Madison. I am the mother of five children, two dogs, and many plants. I am a fundraiser for DAIS, which supports women and children in shelters in Dane County in domestic abuse situations. I am also a victim. I love animals and am an animal advocate. I love to write poetry, which I began as a child, lost, then found again three years ago. I am also an art docent at the Madison Art Center and will work on a project to bring art into the schools.

The Hat

The pain was comfortable
like a hat i remembered from a holiday Sunday
it fit like that
maybe a little too small, but i knew the feeling
and knowing it, being able to recall
made it comfortable, and less small
the constrictor of the brim, by him, made me feel dizzy
i was, afterall, there. on a whim
being by his side. along for his
roller-coaster ride
i pulled my hat on, to keep it there
not wanting anything to rip it apart or tear
my hands got tired but i never let go
you see, i gave him my heart
and soul
i was used to wearing the hat on my head
and to lose it filled me with unknown dread
so, i pretended and held on, instead
until i could no more
the tightness on my soul
no more
i pulled it off, and threw it out the door
yet, as i write these words i must say
i may find another hat to wear some day


On the Hilltop

The wind played with my hair
on the top of the hill
and you didn't care
didn't dare to touch me there
Down below, a train rolled along
this is all you know, or want to know
while I, standing by
die inside
The embrace that never came
the sweet kiss, on my lips
that i missed
the clear blue sky
belies my tears as i cry
i stood there wondering, why
why cant i
be a train that seduces you
reduces you to tears
of love
the trains, symbols of the
life past
recaptured in miniature by men who long
to go back
My body can be the track
roll yourself upon me
and take me with you to see
your hidden memories
and dreams that you wish to be
but i come out of my reverie
only to see
you standing apart from me
a gesture of what will be
sadness, like a misty fog
envelops me
clouding the view
that we would see
if you allowed us to be
no, you let go
i am free



your  hand, soft and gentle
stung like a bee across my cheek
razor sharp words etched in my memory
of cruelty wrapped in sympathy
crawling into my secret place
your voice crept and secured a place
i became familiar with the constant face
not there, i can imagine, and trace
not able to forget, or erase
more than one, or two faced
the mask, you wear it well
hiding your motive from hell
like a surgeon, cutting with his knife
you disembowel me, my soul, my life
each limb removed is thrown away
crippling me more each day
until, finally, i must stay
for i have no legs on which
to run away
this was your purpose
you kept me this way
secure in your life, you keep the knife
by your bedside, dear
where i slept, yet feared
One night it came upon me clear
i must leave, get out of here
a voice within me loudly said
get up, you're free
leave this bed
My legs were there, strong with faith
i escaped unto my own safe space
where i can live and free myself
from my own conjured living hell
i will remember it—learn it well
so that next time, i can recognize the
hidden spell
and not be tempted once more
to open the abuse door


Summer Fruit

summer fruit
so sweet to eat
in the hot, sticky
summer heat
my plate is full
come take a bite
tell me which one
you enjoy tonight
All my fruit is ripe
sweet as can be
my fruit is delicate, like me
take a sample
you'll see
summer fruit
summer love

© Lee Rolnick