Sunday, September 13, 2020

"you did not ask..."




You 
did not ask 
to touch,
or grope, 
or raise my pleated skirt
as if I was 
something you owned.  

All you did was 
ask me if I wanted to learn 
to drive, 
of have shelter from a darker 
evil.  

All you did was ask 
if I loved my sister enough 
to always take the bottom bunk
and never say a word 
the next morning 

All you did was ask 
if I loved my mother, siblings, 
dog enough to not make 
it even harder for them

you did not ask if my wetting 
the bed had anything to do with 
staying up all night to make sure
you would keep your promise
and leave her alone 
sleeping quietly above me

All you did was ask how I slept 
and then smile at the breakfast table 
as if I was your secret pal - when I was 
nothing more than the toy she brought 
with her, when you became her 
knight in shining armor
without nobility or honor

All you did was ask 
that I come directly home from school
and never, ever, make a friend
or talk to a teacher, or join a club, 
or go to the same school long enough
for someone to notice that I was broken 
in places were little girls were meant 
to be whole. 

You did not ask if the cost of learning 
to drive - away from you and the house 
of terror you held in your tight grip
like my pony tail when you wouldn't 
let me walk away - was worth the fissures 
in my heart where blood and tears 
gathered in dried pools of salt and self-hate

All you did was ask that I let your hands 
wander, your sweat make me gag, your breath
choke my dreams, and your body weigh 
me down with confusion and fear. 

All you did was ask that I never tell
and when I did, you asked that they believe 
you and call me a liar... 

which they did.  
  

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