Abuse

it’s not her you say

some sepia-eyed child

in a faded frock

it doesn’t even look like her

 

pattering around

the corners of this album

this township

this museum

 

it’s not her

under dusty covers

 

until one day

the future

weapon gleaming

comes to her in the night

with its indelible

purple bruise

 

here she is now

recognizable

in her grim brown petticoats

her shaven scalp

her burqa

tied to a marriage

or in an asylum

penning a suicide note

 

she’s in Time magazine

photograph of the year

thousands of her

 

you wouldn’t recognize her

hiding that awful secret

in Africa the Far East

 

chained to a bed

in downtown USA

mumbling the Lord’s Prayer

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© Johnmichael Simon

2013

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