Five years old, small for her age
Dreads night’s flannel silence
She’s scared of flashbulbs and
cannot swallow medicine
“Let it float, like a boat,” says mother
Finally, the girl manages to
chew bitter aspirin and swallow
Her nightgown, often wet at dawn
Fragile, frail, third of three girls
Until age forty, she was able to forget
the reason for vague, haunting fears:
She was Daddy’s favorite pet
© 2012 Amy Barlow Liberatore/Sharp Little Pencil
Sunday Scribblings wanted poems about silence. There is peaceful silence; then, there is the conspiracy of silence which burdens small children with undue shame and guilt.
This is reworked from an earlier poem, “Bitter Fruits.” I’m amazed at how looking back at old work, seen with fresh eyes, is able to morph into something better. This is me, my childhood, and I’m glad that therapy and psychiatry have helped me overcome many obstacles that had me stuck in that “zany girl/catatonic girl” hell. I’m still fun, but I’m in control of my mood much more now!