Those things

A hundred and twenty three words
the sum of my suffering
On scrappy paper
scribbled in anaemic biro
A watery message
without courage
He couldn’t even write
what he did to me
The vast tectonic impact
of that rupture in my childhood
and the nightmare of now
His crime distilled
Reduced down to vague words,
‘those things’
I was terrified of those things
Bursting with fight or flight,
Frozen, wide-eyed under my cartoon duvet
I dreaded those things
Listening intently, shaking
Afraid of his footsteps,
The signal that those things
might happen.

He took my childhood when I was ten
he violated everything essential
wounding me in countless, invisible ways
That consuming terror
The pain, the shame, the anger
are just
‘those things’
to him.

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