They delivered me out of profound darkness
With the kissing promise of saving light
The key, they said, was in their mighty hands
Looking up with poignant eyes, I followed.
Put a smile on your face, she said. So I did.
And the burning anguish melted into my soul.
Don’t you dare cry, he said. So I didn’t.
And my tears forever dried up into toxic ashes.
Be good or Dad won’t come home, she said. So I was.
And my heart raced to hear that door open every night.
You don’t know what love it, he said. So I doubted.
And the little I held onto floated away into the clouds.
Go to church and pray and you’ll be fine, she said. So I did.
And resentment built as my God betrayed me time and again.
If you’re unhappy here we’ll send you away, he said. So I lied.
And old recollections of isolation and neglect filled my heart.
No one likes to be around a sad person, she said. So I joked.
And the fool, cloaked in silliness, kept the monsters at bay
Be grateful for what you have, he said. So I tried.
And all the things in the world could not simply hug me.
There are people worse off than you, she said. So I imagined.
And guilt burned like acid through the core of my being.
Straighten up and fly right, he said. So I worked harder.
And hiding behind the scholar was a desperate little girl.
You have nothing to feel bad about, she said. So I stopped feeling.
And the little ones reached out to take my pain for safe keeping.
Anger is not acceptable in this house, he said. So I laughed.
And I ran the razor across my skin to secretly unleash the emerging rage.
You don’t know how good you have it, she said. So I wondered.
And I watched others pass by and wished to share their pain.
I’ll give you something to cry about, he said. So I grit my teeth.
And I so wished he could hear my cries and know what I knew.
I’ve never been so embarrassed in my life, she said. So I cringed.
And I dreamed I was dying a slow torturous death at the hands of loved ones.
Don’t dare talk about family matters to strangers, he said. So I shut up.
And I became numb to myself and the world around me after all.
There's nothing more that can be done for you, they said. So I believed them.
This poem has not been translated into any other language yet.