She’s Come Undone

"She's Come Undone" is my interpretation of this photo. What is yours? Feel free to post in the comment box below the poem.
 Maybe she is all of us who’ve ever come back from grief, hardship, disappointment or simply discovered that we’ve entered our  second childhood.   


 Stepping out of the pool

wearing nothing but a dare,

she looks around.

No roofers in sight,

only the neighbor’s cat

curled under the Mimosa 

and a gecko doing pushups on the fence.

She crosses her arms in front of her

covering herself like a shield.

It’s the Pilgrim in her you know.

Then slowly, she drops the facade,

lifts her arms wide

and does breaststrokes in the air.

The stars aren’t even out,

high noon howls at her back

as she glides this way and that,

barefoot in the sun,

pirouetting in grass that’s still green

until the scarecrows come out.

 A hawk flies overhead,

his high-pitched keeee calling her

to join him.

She takes off across the yard

and decades fall behind her,

shedding the years until she is five

and running through sprinklers.

 Diving into the blue,

she torpedoes through the water

propelled by an energy

she hasn’t felt in years.

 When she comes up for air,

she spots two lily pads of cloth

floating nearby…the discarded suit.

 Flipping on her back,

the buzz of a light plane catches her attention.

And she laughs at the moment

 when she defied convention.

 © Kathleen M. Rodgers




Published by


Author of the novels The Final Salute, Johnnie Come Lately & Seven Wings to Glory. Former contributor to Family Circle Magazine and Military Times. Future work represented by agent Diane Nine, Nine Speakers Inc.

30 thoughts on “She’s Come Undone”

  1. When I first saw that picture my mind jumped to freedom….freedom from restrictions. .freedom frim expectations. .and lastly earthly freedom…for we are nothing more than a swimsuit in eternity. So dive in and let loose.

  2. I, too, saw the photo and thought, “Ah, freedom!” And then, I could picture myself swimming in the nude as I did years ago. It was my greatest earthly pleasure to tiptoe out to the pool just before midnight…away from the brute and the pain and into the warm arms of the water. Oh yes, how magnificent to dive in, to see the shimmering reflections in that deep blue blanket of waves. To float along, body and mind adrift, safe, secure, warm. Then to decide every night, night after night….swim or drown. And of course I chose swim…only to be able to swim again. Undone.
    It is strange, isn’t it, what will spur a long-forgotten memory?

    1. Joy – I’ve been working on this poem for three solid days, except for an hour on Sunday when I left for church. I had no idea all this time that I was quite possibly writing it for you. I’m so glad you chose to swim. And swim. And swim. If you’d stopped swimming, we wouldn’t have the gift of your debut novel, “Countenance,” or your healing novella, “Emalyn’s Treasure.” I think you possibly had a guardian floating nearby, watching out for you.

    2. Joy….. your statement, “away from the brute……” did not escape me. It tears my heart out to think of the women who live in fear and pain from someone they thought would love them forever……

  3. I am laughing my butt off because your words certainly recaptured a forgotten memory for me. On a vacation to the Pocono Mountains a few years back with just my kids, I decided to sun bathe without my top on the deck of our villa. The kids had gone on an outing. Finally brave enough I laid there and fell asleep only to be woken by the sound of a very small plane circling and circling and circling until I grabbed my top ran in the villa to find the kids laughing hysterically and rolling around on the floor.
    I love your poem!

    1. Doreen – I am laughing so hard at your story. Just read it out loud to my hubby. Oh my gosh, too funny. Love the part about the small plane – guess that pilot got a free shot – but the kids has me rolling. What a fun memory for all of you. You just made my day!!!

  4. I saw the bikini in the pool before I realized it was associated with you OR a poem. I scrolled past it, then went back and looked again and thought … Very clever title for a book titled, “She’s Come Undone.”

    How fun to see that your muse woke you up for this. I don’t enjoy poetry … But I LOVE this.

    I wonder if it’s the prologue for your third novel???

    I hope so.

    1. Hey there Bonnie Girl – I got a big kick out of your comment. So glad you went back and realized the photo was associated with me. Haha! Thanks for reading it. I think this is totally a Johnnie Girl moment, don’t you?!!!! Thanks for the hint. I’ve been working on this poem for three solid days. So glad I didn’t roll over and go back to sleep.

  5. Here is one who has found out she CAN fly! And Fly Faster! And I’m not sure she’s come undone or more that she’s come into open DONE!

    If it is swimming nude or skipping to the mailbox in broad daylight. It just good to be able to fly and fly faster! I knew that, but the noise of every day is easy to slip into (rather like slipping under the water). Thank you for the reminder to wake-up and fly…it may seem ‘undone’ to others…that is their problem.

    1. Hi JudyAnn – Keep skipping to the mailbox…or flying, even. I adored your commentary and find your words empowering! Thank you for reading my poem and taking a moment to tell me how it affected you. I love your spirit. 🙂

  6. When I read the title, I thought dark thoughts of my past. Then I saw the picture and thought more sad thoughts. Then I read you poem, and thought of my life now and the fight that all survivors go through and hopefully reach the day when they can remember their past of wonderful childhood memories and know that life is good and they have overcome the evil and can relish the freedom that time and love provides. I know your poem, which I love (and should be the beginning of your next book) is meant to bring happy, freeing thoughts, and in the end, it did! Love to you, Kathy! I’m so glad you are in my life, and know that you have helped me move forward.

    1. My dearest Nita – You are so brave and courageous in telling me how the photo and title of poem first affected you. I see now how the darkness came forward immediately to remind you of the hellish time when you not only survived the evil of this world, but you came back even stronger. If you come back on the blog, scroll down to see what my author friend, Joy Ross Davis, had to say about the affect the poem and photo had on her. Thanks for being in my life. Glad we found each other through books and kindred spirits working together.

  7. I read this after coming home from a yoga class where the teacher talked about the possibility of finding who we might be apart from who we think we are, apart from all that has happened to us. She didn’t include what this poems points to- who society tries so skillfully to make us into. Corsets didn’t go out of fashion; they just became psychological. Reading this poem releases a lot of energy in me; and now I plan to use it to write some good words of my own. Thanks for the inspiration, Kathy! For creating a poem that speaks truth to power. Today of all days: the 50th anniversary of “I Have a Dream!”

    1. Leila – You are such a skillful writer. I love your phrase “Corsets didn’t go out of fashion; they just became psychological.” That is a powerful statement and full of truth. Thank you for the reminder about today’s important anniversary. May we all continue to dream and keep pursuing new goals…

  8. A good dose of the wild, Kathleen. I want this energy: “she torpedoes through the water
    propelled by an energy/ she hasn’t felt in years.” Where I live, I can walk outside naked any time I want and I do. I haven’t been skinny dipping for years, but Vic and I spent lots of time nude in the water when we lived on Cayuga Lake for 3 years just after we were married. Long time ago. Now, I show my undone self and my wild side in my writing rather than in what I wear, or sometimes with howling outside at the coyotes. If you ever visit the Finger Lakes, we’ll be sure to go swimming nude–at night.
    Be wild, Kathleen!

    1. Elaine!! Oh, how your words lift ME up today and encourage me. Thank you for quoting the line about “she torpedoes through the water.” Moments after I wrote it down on a scrap of paper, I went for a 25 minute power walk. I felt energized and washed in the healing power of writing. I enjoyed reading about you and Vic in your early years, and I hope it brings you a bit of joy to remember those days. I gain confidence and always feel both relaxed and empowered when I read YOUR blog post. Rooting for you that you find a good home for your memoir.

      Howling from North Texas!!

  9. Reminds me of our dark night/like at midnight skinny dipping in your pool down in Tucson on one of my visits! The picture that is but heck we shed in the dark and jumped in the pool with the pool lights out of course! Only time I think I’ve ever been in a pool with about 95 degrees out at midnight in the skinny. A very freeing feeling! Love, Su Madre
    PS Good wordsmithing also I must say!

    1. Hi Mom! – I remember the night we went skinny dipping in Tucson. We are talking at least 34-32 years ago. Wow. If my memory is correct, I sure thought we did that here in Texas one year when Tom and the boys were away. 🙂 Love you and thanks for stopping by. You made my day. 🙂

  10. Such a free spirit she is! She seems to be feeling uninhibited at the moment with no one around so she can run in the grass like a five year old. Beautiful! We all want to do this at times. I love how you put birds in your poems and stories, too. Enjoy your poems.

    1. Johnnie Dale – Have you seen many “Johnnie Birds” lately around your place. Love you and thanks for your awesome support.I can’t wait for you to meet Johnnie Kitchen someday. Let’s hope sooner than later. Praying for that one “YES” from a professional in the publishing business.

  11. The skinny dipping was an analogy for me…it is remembering all the times in my life that I went “unleashed” and let my hair blow in the wind, and lived life with reckless abandon! Ah, the life I lived, the times I had, and the love that I have for all of my experiences is what has shaped me into the woman that I am today!!!! It was, and is, all good!!!!

    1. Diane – Your words make me want to get up and dance. So glad you “get” the poem and the deeper meaning behind a woman who decides to go skinny dipping and dancing naked in her own backyard in broad daylight. Of course “dancing naked” is simply a metaphor for “letting go” and I’m so grateful for women like you who are deep thinkers and know how to “let their hair down” at the same time. Thanks for stopping by. 🙂

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