Posts Tagged ‘abuse’

copyright Gay Harper
It seems that,
with every death,
I lose a part of me.

There’s very little left,
of who I used to be and

this person
I’m becoming
isn’t able to see

the person
who I was then or
treasured memories.

Locked in this head
are places to which
I no longer have the key

My identity
must have drained out
with the last bag of my IV.

A hollow shell;
mask on tight,
I still resemble me.

The me
I used to know.
The me
I used to be.


My sister says she misses you.
I wish I could agree.

I don’t miss you.
I hardly knew you –
at least any “you” I liked or respected.

To me, you were The Bogeyman;
origin of my self-loathing.
I’m relieved that you are gone,
happy that you’re dead.

Not because
I hate you, though, and
I thank God for that.

All those nights, alone with you –
You could have been my victim too,
a bitter role-reversal.
But I made a different choice.

I rubbed your back, held your hand,
changed your bedding, clothes and diapers.
I loved you when you were helpless,
because you couldn’t love me when I was.

When you died,
I was happy that you’d escaped the pain,
free from that worn-out body.

I too, was freed:
released from a lifetime
of hate and fear;
your whipping post, no longer.

We went our separate ways,
finally at peace.
Who could ask for more?

Then why do I feel so envious
that my sister had something to miss?

That darker dawn is coming.
The light of remembered lies;
lies I was told, lies I told
to protect my innocence.

It’s gone anyway,
shattered in a hundred
different ways.

I hide in the shadowed warmth
of the old bathtub,
shower curtain half drawn
to keep out the light,
the eyes.

The lavender curtain
turns skin to bruised petals,
soft and wet,
as if from spring rain.

The faucet drips constantly,
accompanying pain.

Nothing will wash this away.

Creature born,
fully grown;
not like a foal
on shaky legs:

invincible warrior,
claws honed
for tearing
from the flesh
of unreason.

need not fear
this spawn,
which grew,
for years;

crawled at night
from my belly:

a force intent
on saving me.

From myself
when necessary.

It germinated
in the lush jungle
of secrets;

grew stronger
every day
it pulled itself
from me,

my face
with claws
like obsidian blades,

“We are one
in purpose.
I will be
your savior.”

And I believed.

Like a wire
in my head,
slowly twisting

Like a shove
between my shoulder-blades,
as I try to flee the night.

Like a faucet dripping
in the hollow of my chest;
restless echo, tapping
in between my breasts.

Like a bright red
at a black-tie affair;

like a balloon caught
on an updraft
of cold air.

Always where
I shouldn’t be;
never where I should.

I’d live life
like I’m supposed to
if I thought I could.



© Coin and Feather Press

Is it possible
to become
after all this time
as a beast?

Learn to walk
with crooked tongue.

Can I forgive
and forget,
move on
with my life;

to stand tall
in ill-fitting shoes,
wearing the garb
of a traitor?

Or am I condemned
to run
through grass so tall
it hides
what I really am;

makes me look
almost real?

Stand casual,
beside humans
Compare myself
to them.

I am full.
They are hollow.

We are different

is a good place to start
having nothing.

I am no longer yours.
Your problem,
your angst.

I never really was,
but you made
my problems yours.
My life became
all about
how it affected you.

Now there is nothing.

A good place
for something new

without you.

Pretense and subterfuge.
Nothing’s genuine.
Even the teeth are false.
Every story carefully groomed
to elicit certain emotions.

Character on a stage;
nothing real shows,
at first.

truth crawls out.
Nothing stays hidden forever.

Revealed for what
they truly are,
the sociopath becomes cruel.
Desperate to actually be capable of
the feelings they casually fake.

Devoid of true emotion,
morals or integrity,
they bluff their way through life,
carry the Bible, the Big Book,
wear crosses or cassocks,
business suits or shining armor…
any costume to seem respectable –

To seem human,
be what they can never be;
feed on fantasy
like vampires.

Scrutiny reveals
lifelong patterns of theft, addiction;
adultery, deception of all sorts.
All, of course, misunderstandings.
Poor innocents, led astray
by the siren’s call.

In the world of the sociopath,
responsibility always
belongs to someone else.


I suspect
when you were young,
you liked to play God;
withering insects
with a magnifying glass,
under hot summer sun.
Watch them writhe
and curl.

I think it made you feel
to hurt other living things.

I am willing to bet
that you nailed live frogs
to trees;
watched them squirm
in mute agony.

I think it made you feel
less alone;
less a lonely little pawn.

Your turn to be the sadist.

It seems not
much has changed
in the last five decades.

You still amuse yourself
impaling fragile things:
beings incapable
of sound.

You suffered abuse
in silence too.

You had the choice
to tell someone.
Animals lack that option.

A childhood
littered with dead things,
slowly killed by you.
Your soul
was dying too.

First, mauled by abuse
that left deep, hidden scars;
later, by a programmed choice
to trade yourself for gain;
be it drugs, cash, or property.

You still long to repay
the indignities suffered
at other hands –
Your own self-betrayal
of accepting a life
you abhorred.

Too old, now,
to burn insects
with magnified heat,
or nail frogs to trees.
Laugh while they struggle
against the spike
in their guts.

You satisfy
the urge to torment
with emotional cruelty –
physical too, if a hapless
victim wanders by.

Spider can’t resist
a fly.
Inject just enough venom
to paralyze.

Take your time.
Extract all hope,
potential –
any sense of self-worth.
Savor the power
to annihilate.

Turn them into
the same empty shell
you are:

Hollow, Heartless Echo.

like a lover,
monster in the night,
shuffling your fingers
and shaking with

The fear
that forms my marrow
curdles as you grow
larger in my doorway,
blocking out the glow.

I keep thinking
that I know you,
might recognize your face
but we all look like
each other
in this reflective place.