Alfa is a beloved part of the poetry community, with her first book “Abandoned Breaths” enchanting readers and rising to the top of Amazon’s ‘Best Sellers’ list. Now, we get to delve deeper into each chapter of “Abandoned Breaths”: squall, monsoon, zephyr, and exhalation. Which brings us to the release of Alfa’s second collection of poetry and prose: “Silent Squall”.
The book opens with this passage from Wikipedia: “Silent Squalls are rare at sea, but common on the Great Lakes of North America. A Silent Squall is the culprit of many sea stories and blamed for quite a few tragedies.”
This is an incredibly fitting title for the collection as a whole as it explores topics and stories that have been left unsaid until now. The author bravely delves into her experience with abuse in her marriage: physical and emotional. She describes the feelings of isolation, fear, and frustration she carried with her quietly through this trying period of her life.
“The thing is, I spent most of our years together… trying to find a way out. And no-one knew. It was him or me, and I decided – I wanted to live.” Alfa then sets the scene, a Civil War era courtroom where she sits after 16 years of marriage. The judge represents hope to the author, hope that the masks will come off and that someone will finally understand the silent torture she has endured for all this time: “But I feel an authentic, hopeful flame burning within me. Maybe, just maybe, she will be the one to understand.”
Sprinkled throughout the collection are “therapy poems” as the author was encouraged by her therapist to write, which she had already been doing her whole life. The writing helped bring release for her, as did cleaning and doing everything she could to make life for her family tolerable.
This often meant keeping up appearances, not ruffling feathers. The author writes about the ‘back-and-forth’ of her everyday life, trying to prove her worth to someone that would never appreciate her:
“I had an awakening. I did not want to feel worthless anymore. I wanted it all to go away. I wanted to start a new life. Begin again. Blink and make it all go away. Little did I know, it would take hundreds of these self-awakening cleaning sprees, before I acquired the strength to shed my fearful feathers, and fly.”
Throughout the collection, the author talks about the additional heartbreak of watching the love you thought you had turn into something toxic and unrecognizable and the isolation she often felt knowing that no one knew the depths of what she was going through: “It is those people who never stopped gawking long enough, to offer a helping hand. Because, sometimes, people see what they want to see.”
“When you have had enough, your soul will rise up with the strength of your ancestors. Each one holding luminous lanterns, lighting the trail to ensure you escape the darkness.”
As you read this collection, you’ll be moved by the honesty of the author as she transitions through so many different emotions and tries to find her way out of the dark path her life has taken. But, even in the darkest passages, you can feel the resilience of the author, the strength she exhibits as she presses on despite all of it. The kind of strength that is a testament to all women who have been abused and have struggled with escaping from the toxicity.
“Promise me this: When you find yourself in need of inspiration, bypass the roses that will clamor aimlessly for attention. And focus on the souls who have actually lived among the thorns.”
There are so many competing elements to the things the author describes: self-doubt and the desire to hide away from the world, the loss that you feel for the love you thought you had, the residual trauma, both physical and mental, stemming from the abuse you endured.
Alfa describes perception a lot in this collection, saying “people see what they want to see” and illustrating the day and night difference between the life people believed she had and the life she was actually living. This is such a poignant point to be made, as it can be said for everyone we encounter.
She sheds light on a very sensitive and painful topic, but in doing so, it helps us understand what it means to have suffered through abuse, and it allows us to react with empathy for our fellow sisters. It helps those that have experienced such awful circumstances to know that they aren’t alone and that it’s okay to talk about it.
The collection describes the painful circumstances of abuse. The author relays her experience with bravery and honesty. And, then, she shows the renewal that comes from getting out, from saving your soul, from taking back your story and moving forward, scars and all.
I think everyone should read this collection. It is truthful, it is painful, and it is healing. It is inspiring to see the author come through this experience with strength and grace despite the trauma she had to travel through first. The author has written a collection that released untold stories of a complicated past.
I am so glad she found her voice to share this with us. It is deeply personal, vulnerable, and above all else, a beautiful way to transform the pain into art and awareness for the readers. So, go check it out for yourself. It is truly a sensational collection.
AMAZON LINK: “Silent Squall“