Tell

A harrowing tale of child abuse (Not a pretty poem)

You caught me unawares as I knelt to say my prayers, 
I was just a little kid and what you did, 
Stayed with me throughout the years, 
Can’t be expunged with a million tears. 

Why? What did I do? 
Was I bad to you? 
You put your penis in my mouth, 
“Suck you little fuck!” 

You shoot your gout, 
I want to shout, to spit it out, 
You close my nostrils, make me swallow, 
I’m dead inside, I feel so hollow. 

You threaten me ‘don’t tell your mother, 
Or I’ll do it to my little brother,’ 

I hold my peace. 

You haunt me nightly in my dreams, 
And deep within me my soul screams, 
Still I hold my peace, no release, will it ever cease? 
Why do you do it? I am your niece! 

The years pass and I cannot ease the guilt and shame I feel, 
Will I ever heal? 
I’m filled with rage from an early age and turn upon myself, 
Take the razor from the shelf, 
Place its edge upon my arm, feel no alarm, 

I cut, 

I cut because I’m a dirty slut, guilty! I tempted you I must have done, I must have done, 
But if I die you will have won, 
So I slash lightly, not too deep, 
And then I cry myself to sleep. 

Now I have a daughter of my own, 
Leave her alone! Leave her alone, 
To protect her I find the courage to say, 
What you did to me on many a day. 

I tell, 

My husband listens, shocked disbelief, 
Lost in grief, 
Tears cascading down his face, 
He burns with shame for my disgrace, 

We tell 

My tormentor now is locked away, 
Oh joyful day, oh joyful day! 
I now have help I talk it through, 
And if this has ever happened to you, 

Tell! 

Tell and send the pain away, a teacher, parent, trusted friend, 
Tell and bring it to an end, 
Tell and make this person halt, 
Darling child it’s not your fault. 

Tell!


 

© pronto 2020
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critique and comments welcome.
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Sirat

This is fairly brutal as I think you intended. One line with which I would take issue is: ‘He burns with shame for my disgrace’, speaking of the grown-up victim’s husband. Surely he would burn with anger, not shame? And what is this about ‘my disgrace’? It’s no more a ‘disgrace’ than it would be if someone had taken a gun and shot her. The child was not responsible for the abuse. I think that’s a very important point that you need to make completely clear. On a technical point there seems to be a grammatical error in ‘You threaten… Read more »

TheRecluse

Yes, Pronto, this was your poem to give example of “gravitas” achieved even while using end-rhyme. But of course the content, or messaging, is so direct and graphic that the rhyme factor becomes totally insignificant with regard to its effect on the reader. The work is well-written and exemplifies the brutally raw reality of this hidious crime with its far reaching harmful effects, and the importance of reporting it where possible to help achieve if only a somewhat hollow justice at least some level of closure enabling life to have a better chance of returning to a more bearable normality.… Read more »

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