Frozen in the headlights

The day darkened
as the storm drew near,
the gloom seeped into the room
where two small children played
The door began to open
and immediately
the man outside the window
put his fingers to his lips
in a hush gesture
and captured a little girl
Like a terrified animal
frozen in the glare of headlights
she stared

my heart hammered and I couldn’t move
or tear my eyes away from the window
as my mother put the light on
and left again, closing the door behind her
She didn’t notice my fear,
and I was too afraid to tell.

The child was lit up now,
exposed in the brightness
of the bulb like a
captive fish in a tank
caught and silenced.

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Dear Uncle

Before you die
I want you to know
that I remember what you did to me
all of it.
The little child you
used up and threw away
soiled and damaged
of no further interest,
and the unhappy teen
that you ridiculed
I understand now that you did that
to try to discredit me
you were afraid of me
afraid that I would tell
afraid that my wildness
meant that you had lost control
you moved your family
far away
you ran
and now I know
I am the one
with all the power
I could take your precious reputation
as the golden boy, everybody’s favourite
and crunch it to dust
under my feet.
I could turn you into an outsider
cast out by your own family
they would turn from you
in disgust
When you die
I will visit your grave
and leave an epitaph
of my own there
and you can spend
all the ages of time
rotting beneath it.

The Cross

october-memory

Long ago this cross was my lifeline

I clung to it with my eyes

until it became an imprint

on my soul

and a dark stain on my heart

I spent my life

searching for it

as if to find it again

would be a key

to the past

that may unlock me

and set me free

I look at it now

and my breath catches

and my heart flutters

like a dying bird

and I still cannot fly away

I am as trapped as I was

as a child

tracing every detail in my mind

to blot out

the insanity

of men.

 

To an unknown man

to-an-unknown-man

I never knew you

but I remember your grave,

black and imposing,

reflecting the moon.

I remember the feel of

the slick black marble

cold against my skin.

I remember the bitter smell

of small dead creatures

hidden in crevices

behind broken stone statues

with angel wings.

I died on your grave

and was resurrected

as a small and insignificant ghost,

unseen.

After long years I returned

and looked down on

your benevolent faded grandeur

I wondered if you remembered me,

that small screaming child,

and if it made you sad

that your grave was a place of terror,

and I realised

that I had never had anything to fear

from the dead.

 

The tunnel

I don’t remember this place

and yet my whole body knows it.

My skin remembers the intense cold

and my muscles remember shivering.

My nose remembers the damp mouldy smell

and my eyes remember total darkness.

My hands remember the damp roughness of brick

and my feet remember shuffling.

My ears remember echoed voices

and my brain remembers the terror.

I don’t remember this place

but I think you do.

Why did you never tell me

that you brought me here?