“Parents wonder why the streams are bitter, when they themselves have poisoned the fountain.” – John Locke

“There can be no keener revelation of a society’s soul than the way in which it treats its children.” – Nelson Mandela

“A person’s a person, no matter how small.” – Dr. Seuss


The tiny blonde woman wails like a banshee

Invoking her curse that I not see my children again

Since the Courts ruled she can’t see her children again

Says she will take me out like Rambo

Court orders sever familial ties

As Reunification services are terminated

A three-year-old boy

Whose name she doesn’t remember “You know, the one I hit.”

And social workers are left to assess detriment

For future visits with this parent

There will be no contact

And Jeffery learns he doesn’t have to hide

Each time he hears footsteps

Doesn’t cower at the knock on the door

The door is not after him It won’t slam him down

As when momma calls from the other side

His vocabulary multiplies each day

His now chubby freckled cheeks widen

As a grin spreads across his face

He runs to the waiting arms of his foster mother

Learning to trust – there are no tricks here

No fist hidden behind her back

Waiting to strike out

Like the eerie hissing of the snake

Whose incantations are lifted from my voice mail

Voice printing

As the sheriff’s department collects evidence

My office building covered with her picture

Covered with warnings – Do not approach

Report sightings immediately

She says that it is her daughter that she loves

The one with the heart condition … her name is Brittany

Does she remember?

Does she remember the names of any of the others?

Six others – each who have different homes

In different states across the country

Altered states

Is time healing their wounds? Do the scars show?

The deepest ones rarely do

Thousands of miles from here

Other social workers are dealing with scars

From the tiny blonde woman

Who wails like a banshee

On my voice mail

In their nightmares

In the quiet of my room

Late at night

Back at the office

I hesitate Before answering the phone

At work they tell me to be careful

“Watch your back” “get an escort to your car”

Reassurance that law enforcement is looking

For the tiny blonde woman

Is obtaining a warrant

They lie in wait for her

As she lie in wait for Jeffery

On the other side of the door

As she lies in wait for me


This wounded animal

Lies in wait

Waiting to strike

And I wonder about the animal

That wailed lying in wait for her

Ripping its claws deep inside

Shredding her mind, her soul

Wounded, wailing

The tiny blonde woman

Wails and




Author: Léa

A wanderer who has found home and herself in the South of France.

17 thoughts on “Wounded”

  1. This is so powerful Lea and very topical for me at the moment.

    My daughter is in her final 6 months of an MA in social work and her working placement is in child protection. She has to make home visits and write reports which will chnge lives for ever. Quite honestly I don’t know how social workers can do this very important and challenging job; my daughter says the mindset in order to perform 100 per cent is quite complex. But she loves what she is doing and I am very proud of her.

    This is a great poem and I will how it to her.

    Christine xx

    1. Hi Christine
      Thank you for your kind words. It is a difficult job and at times has its rewards. My MA was in Psychology so I worked at both ends. Child Protection and Psychotherapy. You have a right to be proud just keep an eye that she takes care of herself. The turnover rate is very high and there are a multitude of problems in the system. Yet, when I was that child (yes, moi). Nothing was done.

      1. I imagine this was a difficult one for you to write. I feel for you.

        I will keep an eye on that daughter of mine (I will always be mum!!)r, though I think she will be fine 🙂


        PS Her first degree was in Sociology and the MA is in social work. My other daughter is a clinical psychologist in a renal unit at a large hospital. So they have similar natures – however my son is in IT – totally different! 🙂 That’s the way of things, he loves what he does and comes in handy for me – he has control of my computer from a distance so when I get things wrong (often) he is on hand!:)

      2. Christine,
        It sounds like your daughter is very fortunate and no doubt so are you. 🙂
        Actually, it just poured out. Kind of a giant phew! Writing does a lot to heal us.

    1. You are kind. Thank you. It is a job nobody wants but someone has to do. Like many others, there were personal reasons we went into such work.

      1. I have met many social workers in my role as a lecturer and cannot tell you the high esteem in which their ilk is held – it is, for sure, a tough job. Personal reasons for doing it are important. With love xx

      2. Polly, my degrees were all in psychology but I did private therapy for non CP clients and also worked at Child Protection. I was a bit amused when I would show up at a school and teachers were always telling me that they could not do my job. They were surprised when I said I couldn’t do theirs. It takes all of us to make the world go around.

  2. oh my..this is heart breaking… not easy at all to be involved as well… good for the little boy he got a second chance and can learn to trust again… high respect for the work you’re doing lea

    1. Actually, it is work I was doing. When I got injured on the job (not related to that case) I became expendable and they no longer required my services as I was left with a disability. Things happen for a reason. Since I was not allowed to work any longer, I sold my house and moved to France a life-long dream. C’est la vie! I have no regrets.

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