Can you go buy me cigarettes

She rasps from the dark cocoon of wherever she is with her demons
On the mattress on my bedroom floor

I take my school uniform off and change into civvies
Put on some mascara so the 7/11 guy will sell to me

Come back with the goods

She’s still there
Deep in her turmoil
But also she sees me
As I bring her lighter

I was raped
She drops it
Like a bowling ball through a glass table
My feet beneath.

I feel the impact
On my childhood
On my innocence
On my place as her daughter

As she discloses
For the first time in her life
Nearly fifty years old
Her vast history of horrific sexual assault

In graphic detail
Of the violence
Of the humiliation
Of the insidious threats to silence her

A suite of stories
That I now see as almost universally thematic for so many women

But her first telling
Was my first hearing

And already I had my own
Silenced stories
Tucked away inside so many poky corners of my soul

She draws on her dart
Exhaling putrid smoke
Into my asthmatic face
She’s feeling that relief
Of no longer carrying it alone

Meanwhile
My feet feel the bruise of the bowling ball impact
My soul is writhing with the discomfort of being made the listener

She looks at my face
Hers switches up and she blinks
Dons the facade of adult
And says

You’d better put your uniform on and get to school


Copyright 2021

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