Apartment # 3

“Molesters do not wear an ugly mask. They wear a shield of trust.”  – Patty Rase Hopson

“Child abuse casts a shadow the length of a lifetime.”  –  Herbert Ward

Apartment # 3

I can’t remember which scent

Offended me most as a child

The heavy damp mustiness

Of grandma’s apartment

Or the sting of her

White Shoulders cologne

I dreaded the darkness

When the deacon came to call

Heavy drapes drawn tight

The focal point in the living room

A Murphy bed

Always poised

Always covered in crisp white paper

The altar

Waiting for the offering

The spring lamb

Not even two years of age

When sacrifices begin

This man of god

Anoints me in his holy water

Telling me

Not to tell

As if I had the words to expose him

Bottom drawer antique mahogany bureau

Easy to reach for one so small

Always containing gifts

If I’d been good But why were there no Pieces of silver?

Grandma returns as the man leaves

He will not look at me

As he puts on his hat

What was the going rate

For an infant girl?

And why did the mother

Insist I keep returning?

Bisous,

Léa

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About Léa

A wanderer who has found home in the South of France.
This entry was posted in Childhood and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

18 Responses to Apartment # 3

  1. Perfect. Horrible. Perfect poem, horrible happening. You are brave for writing and posting this poem. Props!

    • leamuse says:

      As you know, writing it is part of the healing. I know there are so very many more out there who have walked similar paths. Thanks for you kindness and it is good to hear from you again. 🙂

  2. It seems to be like a scab that won’t heal. But your exposing it to the light and sharing your burden will surely help you…and others. Courage! You had it then, you have it now, and you’re passing it forward. Thank you.

    • leamuse says:

      Thank you. I have healed rather well. However, I know there are many out there who have not and unfortunately, there are new members to the group every day. I hope that perhaps the words will help someone else.

  3. Claudia says:

    oh heck…this was like a punch in the stomach…terrible.. glad you found the words to write about it

  4. johncoyote says:

    A very sad story in the poem. Hard for me to understand why someone can abuse a child. Thank you for sharing.

    • leamuse says:

      Even sadder when it was your life. Abuse is a learned behaviour. However, that does not excuse it. At an early age, I remember choosing not to treat anyone the way I was treated. Yet it is not all that simple. I went on to do post-graduate degrees in Psychology trying to understand my life, pieces to the puzzles. It did make me effective when I was working in Child Protection. Unfortunately, the system is as dysfunctional as the people it is suppose to be helping.
      Thanks for stopping to comment.

  5. Anne says:

    Beautifully written – such calm restraint so at odds with what you’re describing, it’s heartbreaking and yet inspirational. Thank you.

  6. RACHEL HANSON says:

    Oh God, Leah, when will it end?  After years of hard work, cleansing, writing, remembering not forgetting, I’ve laid down some.  Never all.  Love, Rachel

    • leamuse says:

      I am not sure we do forget. Yet things come to me that I had hidden from myself. It does seem I get stronger and for me, writing helps. My thoughts are with you.

  7. The apparent collusion of your grandmother makes such a betrayal even more horrifying, as if there were degrees of horror in such a terrible experience. I admire you for the courage it takes to write this

    • Léa says:

      Thank you. However, for me courage had nothing to do with it. Actually, many of those poems just wrote themselves. I merely sit at the keyboard and bleed. So much was deeply buried and it was cathartic to bleed it out. The best that can come of it is that another ‘survivor’ can know that they are not alone and that they are okay. Merci beaucoup mon amie!

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