Souren Mondal

Gold Star - 31,436 Points (10th November 1991 / Chandannagar)

Skeletons In The Closet - Poem by Souren Mondal

He walked up to me with a smiling face in
the auto-stand and told me I was such a nice young man.
I smiled at him,
being all of fourteen I used to smile at all.

We went inside the vehicle and talked
about school and sports
Friends and chocolates,
Dreams and and aspirations.

How tender the old gentleman seemed
well-behaved and soft-spoken.

But then came the horror
His hand touched me in the bad place and he
squeezed it like a pressure relieving ball

I froze,
I couldn't move,
So much ran through my mind like a herd of vultures
across a dun sky...

Tears welled up but did not flow,
Angee and shame began to build up within my heart
but my face,
My mouth gave nothing away...

When the autorickshaw stopped I ran out of it
with the old gentleman saying
'Hey kid wait! We should talk more.'

A few drops of tears may well have rolled down
my cheeks and dried in the harsh wind against my face

Souren Mondal
January 10,2016

Topic(s) of this poem: abuse, trauma

Form: Free Verse

Poet's Notes about The Poem

I don't know whether I should add a note with this, but I have a few words to say -

First and foremost this happened to me almost ten long years ago, when I was about fourteen - barely a child, a young adult - a childish young adult. I couldn't understand what happened and my first impression was to blame myself - I was the one, after all, who talked with him - 'It's my fault'. I rationalised it and buried it down. I was sexually abused in a moving vehicle in broad daylight - no one will believe me, I thought back then, if they did, they will tell me what a 'pussy' I was that I didn't kick him or did something 'manly', 'heroic'... I had 'balls' phisologically but none such in my heart etc.

I kept silent for ten long years - for ten years I had carried this inside myself - speaking about it now is perhaps useless, but I want to make an appeal to all, parents of kids in particular -

If you are a parent with children, please talk with them about sexual abuse - they need to know that this kind of sick behaviour is not at all acceptable and should raise their voice under such circumstances....

Finally, maybe we also need to have a better system to recognise and help who are pedophiles - yes help - I am perhaps sounding crazy to say this - but maybe they don't really do it because they are predators and may have mental issues.. It's by no means saying that they should be 'forgiven' for committing in such acts, but if they do not commit such acts but have mental disorders that make them feel that way, we as a society, should give them the space for recovery....

Thank you for reading,

Comments about Skeletons In The Closet by Souren Mondal

  • Akhtar Jawad (2/10/2016 10:49:00 PM)

    We all have such experiences in our lives, thanks to this courageous poet who narrated it. A touching poem. (Report) Reply

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  • Pamela Sinicrope (1/15/2016 4:43:00 PM)

    I am glad you shared your story and also your poem. I agree with everything you've said in it and it is not so uncommon at all...unfortunately. Boys and girls can BOTH be victims of sexual abuse. I was told by a sex abuse prevention counselor to do just what you've said with my boys. I've talked to them all about this issue since a young age. I've taught them the proper names to their body parts and told them it is not OK for someone to touch them in these places. I've also told them to tell me if someone ever tries to do such a thing and they will never get in trouble for it. Finally, what she told me is that you can't necessarily stop this sort of thing happening once....but you can stop if from happening repeatedly if you open up the lines of communication and take away their shame. I abhor this person for doing such a thing to you at a tender age and I am so proud of you for opening up and talking about it in your beautiful poetic voice. (Report) Reply

  • Valsa George (1/14/2016 6:18:00 AM)

    How deep such unanticipated and abominable behaviour from an elderly man can shock and hurt a boy of just fourteen! The sense of shame and self pity, you have been hiding inside got released and I am sure you feel relieved and many who bear the brunt of sexual abuse also will be comforted knowing that their's is not a singular experience! Hiding the skeleton in the cup board can only disturb you. What cure can we suggest for this kind of mental freaks..... I don't know! Your advice to parents to make the children aware of such abuses is so valid! (Report) Reply

  • Daniel Brick (1/11/2016 11:23:00 AM)

    No, writing this poem now is not useless, it is very beneficial. First, it takes the skeleton out of the closet, into the world of light which frees you emotionally, consoles those wounded by abuse, and provides a model of what Kelly blow called poignance and bravery. It is never too late to seek release and demand justice. This subject speaks for itself, but there is considerable artistry in the way you handle the experience. Innocence and connivance, openness and manipulation contend; a tentative victory is won, relief is shared. Last week you wrote rapturously about the innocence of children. This week is is the peril children face that you address. Both topics are needed (Report) Reply

  • Kelly Kurt (1/10/2016 12:25:00 PM)

    Very poignant and brave. (Report) Reply

  • Mohammed Asim Nehal (1/10/2016 1:46:00 AM)

    At that tender age most of the kids they become prey unwarranted and unwillingly. We take them at face value being in our innocence stage. Things have changed now most of the kids are well informed and aware about this now and I am glad with this poem most of the parents will take initiative to let their kids know and how to deal in such awkward situation. Thought provoking poem, as usual. (Report) Reply

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Poem Submitted: Sunday, January 10, 2016

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