Featured Poet: Ashley Sacha

Mother’s Cookbook

It was her mother’s recipe

A blend of hard work, confidence, kindness

As well as dash of ravishing red lipstick and a trace of Chanel no. 5

Mixed in a big theoretical pot for her daughter

She was determined to give everything she wasn’t given everything from a young age.

She wanted to give her the recipe to life.


To be told she was beautiful, even on the days she felt appalling.

To be told she was smart, even on the days she felt idiotic.

To be told she was important, even on the days she didn’t feel it.

That’s how she would give her the recipe to life.


Yet while giving the recipe to life, she hit a roadblock-

Life itself.

While she was giggling with her baby, listening to the mumbled gargles.

She didn’t notice her heavy eyelids being pulled by gravity with the weight of fatigue.

While she was teaching her daughter not to kill the bug, but to let him go.

She didn’t notice the aches creeping in her body.

While she was being questioned by a voice that was more exhalation than whispering, about God and Jesus and everything that was being said in church

She didn’t notice her shaking hands holding the hymns

While she was busy giving her baby girl the joy she never had

She didn’t notice her body failing.

Life’s recipe didn’t call for illness, but sometimes life throws in a pinch of salt, too potent for lips.


She lay in her unfamiliar bed, holding hands with her daughter, her beautiful creation.

She lays listening to reciting memories of hard work, confidence, kindness…

Even when the tears rolled off the bright, young cheek

She smiled with her red lips

Inhaled her faint smell of charm

Thanking her mother

For giving her everything she was not.


To whom it may concern

To those who want to start an awakening in minds willing to listen

To those who have wide eyes, bold pupils and furrowed brows staring unspoken words in the face.

To those who want to begin a movement

To march

To yell

To pause

To breathe

To those, you must remember

To admit defeat, but never to apologize in the standing.

To keep walking, because even if you shake, a step is still a step.


Push those toes in the ground like its warm sand.

Feel every grain on your feet, thinking of the story of every one of them and what stone they came from.

A stone once skipped across the calm water by a young boy and his father, making memories that last forever.

Or a stone once stepped on by girl somewhere and a boy picking her up to carry her back to the car, knowing that he was going to marry her one day.


Dig your heals in the ground…

Stronger than that.

Plant your feet like a tree that’s been there for years.

A willow tree whose roots reach the opposite end of the earth.

Whose roots are far too deep, far too grounded, for even the strongest to yank up

Stay. Grounded.

To those, you must remember


Stand tall in your posture with every vertebrae lined up, creating a tower of bodies of ossein reaching to the stars in your brain.

All stretching out to grasp a part of the infinite cosmos in your brilliant head.

Full of unheard of galaxies and not yet discovered planets.

An entire new world to explore

To those, you must remember

To want to start a change

To bring awareness

And to end…

Just to begin again

To those who will start an awakening in minds willing to listen.



The whispers that would once soothe now crawl down my spine

like roaches invading wet wood.

My spine, turned to wood, splinters my heart.

And know it hurts to breathe but I do anyway because for a split

second, pure air brushes against my lips, the way you once did.


I walk on broken glass, on my hands and knees clearing the way for you,

But you walk right over me looks across the bloody cracks on the floor. On my heart.

Why do I miss you. Why do I miss the cuts. Why do I miss the yelling.


Because I miss you. I miss the way you’d looked at me sleeping.

The way you’d watch me singing in the car.

The way you’d look at me while in your bed.

When did your eyes of love turn to lust?

When did I turn to a human being that meant nothing anymore.


When did 10 months of your life just hit ctrl delete and now

you can’t find the files but you are still my desktop picture.

How does this happen?

I try to rip apart your gifts on my dresser, and the pictures on my walls

but I can’t because part of me is hoping one day you’ll be at my door


with my favorite flowers,

my favorite flowers,

my favorite flowers…


that I can’t fucking think of because you have taken over my mind.

Just apologizing


I see you walk. You don’t walk the same anymore

I see you talk. You don’t talk the same anymore.

I see you. You aren’t the same anymore.

Ashley Sacha is a junior attending Byron Center High School. She found her passion in writing her sophomore year and hasn’t stopped writing since. She shares her journey with people to raise awareness in Mental Health. Struggling with Depression and Anxiety she wants people to know it’s okay to talk, and never to be ashamed of it. She wants to go into teaching, specifically special education, but her dream is to be a published poet one day.

About Kelsey May

Kelsey May is a graduate of Grand Valley State University and Editor in Chief of SkipFiction. She is passionate about social justice and activism, especially with issues of consent and sexual abuse or misconduct. Her work has appeared in over two dozen publications, including Broken Plate and NonBinary Review. She has also received numerous grants and awards, including a nomination for a 2016 Pushcart Prize. She would like to thank her husband, Bob, for his undying support of her ideas and career.

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