Fortress in Mind
Secrecy was her secret to survival.
She forgot what happened because
no one talked about it.
Not even her sisters.
She cultivated a rabbit-proof fence
of quietude and dreams,
tracing images in the gritty grain of
their plaster bedroom ceiling.
Why did she only find scared faces?
Grew up in denim armor,
ensuring no boy wanted to date
the girl in the high-top Keds with
“Don’t touch” scrawled in acne.
Landed in Manhattan and
took on a new façade: Approachable.
This, too, was a wall; after all, she’d
“lost it” so long ago, it mattered little
who used her
All this took place inside
an elaborate labyrinth of hedgerows,
within the castle she had
built in her mind.
The only person who swam in the moat
was her father, he having the privilege
of power, which he exercised unwisely,
unkindly. Unrepentant and unchallenged.