He Said, She Said - Poem by Kim Schilling
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.
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