Abuse

Tonight I scuttled up the stairs to bed, couldn't cope,

On TV - family violence - father hurting wife -

Turned from ideal parent to aggressor.

(The fact the actor was an ace of mine

Hammered home the point.)

My own father stands enshrined, a symbol

Of all that I hold dear.

He opened doors for me - books, poets,

How to fairly judge, and shared his insights.

'Listen,

"Ruth stood in tears amidst the alien corn"

Doesn't that strike home?

Feel how it hurts.'

Indeed it did.

That and a myriad dancing revelations lit my days.

So, betraying fathers I have encountered in my life

Cut me to the quick,

My own experience so rich and deep.

A little lad, only five, brother of a boy I taught at home,

His mother, wanting him to share,

Asked me to spend a little time with him alone.

At once I sensed his angst.

We played a word game -

'Is this a secret?' he asked,

Anxious, desperate to know

What could and could not be said.

I didn't understand his pain;

Only knew something was very very wrong.

His frantic masturbating just confirmed my fears;

Yet the mystery remained.

Not till much later did I understand

When his mother told me

Of the violence that she suffered at her husband's hand,

As their children watched.