Five

What do you do
when you are five years old
and your mother
shuts you away
because she can’t bear to look at you?
In your short life
she has given
no love or cuddles,
only bewildering rage and anger
no matter how hard you try to be good
it is never good enough.
Your body is small,
next to you she is very big
and when her face is in your face
shouting at you
and her hands are on your shoulders
shaking you
you fear you might die.
She shouts
I’ll shake the living daylights out of you.
Maybe one day she did
and you are no longer a real person,
only a shadow in the dark.
How do you know
if you are still alive?

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