(Warning: this poem discusses the effects of sexual assault, and may be disturbing to some readers.)
Back and forth I travel, searching for her – retrace every bend, curve, detour – back to the water, the sand, the beach where I lost her…haunted
by velvet brown eyes – bedroom eyes, they told her, men with greedy loins, calculating – I lost her to the lure of alcohol, to the pounding beat of drums in those smoky corners so far removed from the purity of our dreams…
It’s been an arduous journey, some days so lost in the daze of forgetting; I cycle back, memories of manhood exposed egos craving stroking, learning what men wanted, learning to numb
disappointment with fast-talk and all-nighters, suppressing tears discovering that words hold no promise and water is deep, and going within is a dark, foreboding place, and worth…
is shrouded by the discovery that the father she adored was not as we’d thought, and that this primal urge for mating was a trap…. designed to eradicate beauty, not enhance it…
I need to find her, hold her afloat in sacred waters, help her feel the healing light of a thousand women’s hearts all bleeding as one,
all tainted by the same convoluted messages – that lust is sinful and copulation a man’s domain, and that in order to be espoused, she must forgo her nature – tame the wild settle…
but as much as I travel these lonely roads, I cannot find her, the traces of her innocence washed away by the tides…lines now on this aged face
If you see her, please hold her close… hold her until the beauty of her being is solid knowing and the shame vanquished Hold her till she understands the light she was born to be.
( Wayward Daughter first appeared here in February, 2017, and was published in the anthology: We Will Not Be Silenced: The Lived Experience of Sexual Harassment and Sexual Assault…, by Indie Blu Publishing, 2018. This version is edited. I am submitting it for my weekly challenge: roads. Art my own.)
This deipnophobia paralyzing heartless stares dredge up
my truth: insatiable hunger need to stuff down emotion
the certainty that I deserved the abuse – endless shame
My fork traces the outlines separates food groups
My mind makes mental notes of what I’ll gorge on later.
(Deipnophobia is the fear of dining in public. I watched my older sister avoid eating when with others, and then gorge afterwards. I had not known there was a term for it until I came across this prompt. Image my own.)
Rebellion rages in my veins, Dreamcatcher, so tightly wound I have blocked hope I want to be good – a good girl – like that man of God says but his preaching ways violate prophecies a cover for sin and I am so sullied that I fear love will distain me.
How did I get here, Dreamcatcher childhood a lost notion – I try to minister to the past, but Father’s sermonizing possesses even in death, his will a barricade I need guidance to help me emerge
I’m an unreliable navigator, Dreamcatcher, oppression’s familiar, no high able to release me suspicion of promises nauseates I’m tired of facades – good girl facades – locked in this nightmare won’t you please help me out?