Memoir: Poem: Symbols are like an alphabet

Sarandy Westfall,

Symbols are like an alphabet in my mind. My dream of home contains them, often I rearrange them. Symbols can equal a thousand unspoken words.

Deer equals Mother admiring the delicate snow falling, momentarily at peace, mesmerized by the intricacy of ice crystal diamonds. Her joy inspired me to love nature.

Fireplace equals Father chopping wood in the cold. He gathers them to keep us warm, we were dazzled by the fire, orange embers glowing, sparks bursting tiny laughing firecrackers.

Kung Fu movies and Bruce Lee equals Brother carving his own nunchucks, taping them with black electrical tape wrapped around the curves, connected with a silver hardware chain. He practiced in the basement in front of a mirror and took them to school until they banned them as dangerous, mysterious, Asian weapons.

Butterflies equals Sister crouched in an Asian squat in the backyard smiling, her fingers clasp the wings of a butterfly, “Look, Judy! I caught a butterfly!”. Mom loved butterflies and bunnies and my sister imitated her every action. I’m sorrowfully afraid because I have to tell her, “Father’s looking for you and he’s very angry”. “It’s ok, Judy. It’s not your fault”, she says as she lets go of the butterfly. He punished her severely for hanging a clothesline in the garage. He beat her up over nothing.

Now this poem is crying, it started out so well. My memories are bittersweet, everything at once: love, hate, rage and laughter, all jumbled up together in my mind.

Boxer dogs equal our beloved family pet who protected us from intruders and sometimes Father when he was raging. Our boxer dog barked and barked at him and she wouldn’t relent even after he picked her up and threw her across the room. She limped back bravely and continued to protect us. Dogs understand loyalty more than most humans.

Thank you for reading this sad poem.


      1. For whatever it’s worth, those are our memories. It shores us over when we are nostalgic, takes us in happiness and in sadness, ebbs forlornly.
        It teaches us appreciation.
        Take it in your stride and cherish what you can. Release what clogs your heart. 🤗
        I’m lost without my dogs… Both have crossed over.

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      2. Thanks for your insightful comment, it does give perspective, depth, appreciation for the good that was there and remains now. Dogs have hearts of gold, they make us laugh while they’re with us and we miss them for a whole lifetime after they’re gone. 🐶❣️

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