Shadows of the Past This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

September 22, 2013
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The world was painful
the corners of that
dingy old house
always stepping on a carpet of rancid glass.
Sickness was never temporary,
it had moved in.
The furniture, slanted with the grimy
The bite of the air was harsh
my clothes always damp.
He'd lure me in, so convincing, and
punish me
with anything he could lift
anytime she said so.
He was the dagger stabbing me, dented
and damaged,
but she was the wielder.
I'd never spoken a word
doorways were wispy dreams
parents fiction.
I was ignorant,
living in darkness.
That's all I ever knew.

All I have left is the bruises.

I know everything,
freedom is automatic
given the world
I sit in one chair in my little tidy corner
of a house which reeks of money and polish.
In my flexible new stockings I can slide on the waxy marble floors
a doctor waits for my complaint,
with a cool glass of water and a remedy
for a single curious germ
my bed feels of clouds alongside
the strange smell which lingers in my dressers they've had built for the room.
She fingers the lampshades as if they are a butterfly's wings
and strokes my hair so very gently.
He looks expensive with flat clothes and mirror-like shoes,
I don't dare touch them with my filthy
poor hands.
He lifts me to his shoulder
like a princess.
He smiles at my soul and brings warmth
to my heart
while she speaks me to a lull with her coo
of a voice
more love in a woman than
I've ever lived to know.
I dream of their words and their touch and their smell
and lie watching the bruises fade
hoping someday love will
heal them.

This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.

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