The Shell Game [TW]

Note to Readers: This piece contains descriptors of violent physical abuse, mental and emotional abuse, and allusion to sexual abuse/assault. Read at your own discretion.

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They live in our houses,
our communities.
They work with us
and are integral to our
daily lives;
we bequeath them with titles:
Grandmother – Mother – Daughter
Sister – Aunt – Niece – Cousin
Wife – Girlfriend – Best Friend

However there are others
who see them as less
and reduce them to nothing
but objects for the amusements of
small men;
things to be rated and taken apart,
drained and damaged,
thrown against walls and onto floors,
then discarded when the novelty fades
and threatened into conformity with
authority and deceit.

First and foremost
these women are people,
and many are






Too often they fall between the cracks.
They get lost in the shell game
abusers love to play
(Shuffle the cups, where’s the ball? You lose, sucker!)
and we can’t keep letting them down,
letting them suffer alone,
weeping and bloody in the
indignity of darkness.
No more silence.
No more secrets.
No more denial.
No more intimidation.
No more.


Music Box Ballerina

Hands in the air,
Spinning around,
Stuck to a pedestal,
Lost in the sound.

Why am I here?
Can’t anyone see?
I need to get out,
I long to be free.

Trapped in a box,
I perform to amuse;
They watch and they mock,
They jeer and abuse.

So I keep pretending
And dance with a smile;
When the music winds down
I can dream for a while.

Circle the Drain

It’s dizzying,
maddening even,
watching you
circling round and round.
I did my best.
I tried to help,
but you refused
and floated away
on another revolution
of denial.
I tossed ropes
and rings,
lowered a ladder,
until at last I accepted
that you have to
want out
before I can save you.

via Daily Prompt: Circle


It’s been nearly a decade,
but I still think
about that one day…

I was only home two days,
attempting to begin healing
physically, mentally, and emotionally,
when you decided
I needed to know.

You called me a selfish monster,
a hateful beast,
and blamed me for destroying something
that hadn’t existed in years.
You decided
I wasn’t broken enough,
so you unleashed
your bitterness, your anger,
and aimed it at the fresh wound
in my chest.

You told me I needed to learn
how to make sacrifices
for the benefit of others,
but I guess carving out
my own heart
and giving it to someone
who needed it more
wasn’t enough.

So you broke me further,
the one I had always been told
I could count on,
no matter what;
you twisted my vulnerability,
clawed at my mind,
and ripped apart
what was left
of my sanity.

But I’m still here.
I put back the pieces as best I could;
I’ll never be the same,
not with all the gaps
where some pieces
were obliterated,
but I’m alive.
I’m living.

And you’re still
just a