Inarticulate

“I swore never to be silent whenever and wherever human beings endure suffering and humiliation. We must always take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented.”

–  Elie Wiesel

“Nothing strengthens authority so much as silence”

 –  Leonardo da Vinci

“Never be bullied into silence. Never allow yourself to be made a victim. Accept no one’s definition of your life; define yourself”

–  Harvey Fierstein

“In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.”

–  Martin Luther King Jr.

***

Inarticulate

Writer’s block

Is sometimes

Symptomatic

Of the things

So repressed

Like being

Tongue-tied

Stuck back

In the dungeon

Called childhood

The words

Won’t appear

Keyboard

Silenced

Somewhere

Between the past

And anywhere else

My fingers

Loose their way

Freeze in a hover

Over the keys

Separating truth

From the fiction

Exposing it to

Light

Like pollen

Lifted by the

Wind

To begin

Anew

***

Bisous,

Léa

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

And the rain fell

“When you are sorrowful look again in your heart, and you shall
see that in truth you are weeping for that which has been your
delight.”
~Kahlil Gibran

“It’s so curious: one can resist tears and ‘behave’ very well in the
hardest hours of grief. But then someone makes you a friendly
sign behind a window, or one notices that a flower that was in bud
only yesterday has suddenly blossomed, or a letter slips from a
drawer… and everything collapses.”
~Colette

“Breathe.
Listen for my footfall in your heart.
I am not gone but merely walk within you.”
~Nicholas Evans

For my daughter Jacqueline (1974-1976)

And the rain fell

And the rain fell

Scattering precious droplets

That would cling

To your long dark lashes

And your down-like curls

The laughter in your eyes

So evident in your outburst

As you thrust back your wee head

Straining to catch each particle of moisture

Within your grasp

And the rain fell

*

And I marveled in your delight

Each time as if it were the first

The magic ignited

In your ebony-brown eyes

As you tried with clenched fists

To capture the minute drops

As if to possess them – forever

And the rain fell

*

We come to realize

That each of us

Like those drops of rain

Must abandon the boundaries of earth

To embark on the uncharted journey

Seizing memories as our companion

And the rain fell

*

It soaked my clothes

It dampened the virgin wood that encased you

And my body trembled

As the deep pain clawed at my heart

The freshly upturned soil

That waited to embrace you

And the rain fell

*

The skies above seemed to match my tears

Falling softly

The icy wind

Seemed to mock the last kiss

We shared

The frigid wax of your lips

The eyes that no longer met mine

My arms long to caress you one more time

…And the rain fell

Bisous,

Léa

Un Cadeau de Silence

“Simply having children does not make mothers.” – John A. Shedd

“I swore never to be silent whenever and wherever human beings endure suffering and humiliation. We must always take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented.”
– Elie Wiesel

“I write for those women who do not speak, for those who do not have a voice because they were so terrified, because we are taught to respect fear more than ourselves. We’ve been taught that silence would save us, but it won’t.”
– Audre Lorde

Un Cadeau de Silence

Amazon

Wants me to

Find the

Perfect gift

For mom

Mother’s day

Will soon

Be upon

Us

She will

Be upon

With the

Stick

The hard rubber brush

The chemicals

The rituals

Upon me

Beating childhood

Like a seal pup

Until all that remains

Is the bloody pulp

Survival required

Blocking out

So many years

Time and distance

Are both

Healers

Mother’s day

Flashbacks

But the war is

Over

For me

Six-thousand miles

A buffer

Zone

Let

The Hague

Try her crimes

The gift of

Silence

No longer

On the

Table

And

I

Will not

Be

Bought

Bisous,

Léa

Wounded

“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

Wounded

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

Wailing

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

Waits

Bisous,

Léa

Haiku: Childhood

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

“Children are like wet cement. Whatever falls on them, leaves an impression.” – Haim Ginott

“When someone was hitting me, or like sexually molesting me, it just seemed normal to continue to do that to myself.”  – Tatum O’Neal

Childhood

For many of us

Life wasn’t about being loved

Survival’s the game

Bisous,

Léa