Wayward Daughter

(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.)

Inside, I Scream

(Warning:  trigger)

It wasn’t for want of terror –
inexplicable horror
caused me to quake

There was no one to hear –
a remote lair, boarded
ensured the perfect crime

Even in the aftermath –
self erased, movement
adrenalin automaton

Even then, no sound,
voice stifled by guilt
certainty blame was mine

Art of dissociation
keeps me now, surface
calm – shame numbed

The scream a silent
reverberation
tearing at my soul.

(For Ragtag Community’s daily prompt:  scream.)

 

The Lady Calls It

Shipwrecked –
tossed ashore by blatant lies,
women’s cries lost
in political gales

Collins says
#MeToo
is valid,
should be continued

Just not this time

Might as well
throw one life preserver
for the millions drowning

Hope GOP have
their own life jackets
handy for the tsunami
that is imminent.

(Written for 50 Word Thursday.)

Can We Talk About It?

As mothers, who are concerned,
as sons, who are seeking guidance,
as daughters, for whom our fears mount?

I don’t have the answers, maybe
not even the beginning of a response,
but I’m trying to get through to some level

of sensibility, need to know what it takes
to instill respect, to restore reverence for
all that in is feminine; seems we are numbed

lulled into complacency, brainwashed by
a consumer-driven machine that pumps
out sexuality as entertainment, infiltrates

our collective psyche, equates exploitation
with attainment, debasement with reward;
are we so desensitized as to not recognize

that merely turning off the television, or
ignoring the images in the check out line
still amounts to complicity; what amount

of surgical intervention is required to
eradicate this societal disease; restore
compassion and caring to our culture?
(This poem, inspired by a series of dreams, responds to the The Daily Post prompt: conversation.)