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 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
Poet's Notes about The Poem
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,
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