Bloody Noses

Angst, religion,

          the entire system. 

Last week a friend adding something 

challenge to that system.  


My anger and rage; 

          God knows me by name. 

Surges of words  


forth, and lips smack them back.  


Our conversation aware, 

          increasingly aware, 

these words are for enemies,  

not for friends.  


Silently I glare, at me 

or at them – my foe and friend.  


Stiffening presence 

          Bodies don’t see me or you 

Hurricane forces  

          roar in my ears, 

pushing and pushing, air swirling.  


Bloody noses.  


Sitting in stories, 

          inside-out stories, 

White body supremacy 

catches breaths and winds  

not so calm.  


I see my 

          blood pressure rising.  


“Are you experiencing stress?”  

          Are you overwhelmed?”  

The nurse asked, masked  

behind glasses.  


My own blank face.  

          Tears cascade,    

then roar ugly sobs.  

My own mask.   

Jesus, I ask for you to see me.  

“My heart hurts, like physically hurts.”   


She smiles, takes the cuff, 

          places it on my arm. 

Breathe – breathe – breathe  


Breathe through the shame.  


Resting heart, lowered pressure, 

I know this as pressure.  



No end in sight, 

          Endless shame, 

Lord Jesus.  


Sweet Jesus,  


Bloody noses. 

Danielle S. Castillejo grew up in the swirl of a mixed identify, with a German father and a Mexican mother. With her four children in school full time, she applied to graduate school at The Seattle School of Theology and Psychology. Before her second year of graduate school, she was invited to explore her story through a Story Workshop at The Allender Center. She went on to complete Level 1 and 2 of the Certificate in Narrative Focused Trauma Care, and she is enrolled in the Externship for the upcoming year. Since our culture has experienced such an intense ripping and cultural identity crisis, Danielle addresses internalized racism and its effects personally, in her family, and in her community. She encourages other healing practitioners to do the same. Danielle began this process with her MA in Counseling Psychology and studies at The Allender Center. Danielle loves the anticipation of spring and summer in the Pacific Northwest, with the return of long days and sunlight absent in the dark winters. You can easily find Danielle out on a trail or working in her yard. You can also find her online at