Amy Barlow Liberatore… stories of lost years, wild times, mental variety, faith, and lots of jazz

Tag Archives: Bad Fathers

determined swimmer 001

Acrylic on canvas, 9×12 by Amy Barlow (Liberatore)

Determined Swimmer

She’s good in water
A determined swimmer
An athlete going for the gold
With each stroke, determination grows
Hope flows with coursing blood

(a flash of daddy’s face)

Swimming for her life
or because of it
Because water will wash away
traces of THAT
Wash her clean of past, passed

(what happened, over and over again)

Almost there
Air collapsing from her lungs outward
The sea, an effervescent bubble mass
of inside, now outside

(he’s dead yet alive, too alive and too strong)

The picture fades from view
Her eyes shine in a wide-awake stare
A limp doll sleeping
on solid ground
at last

© 2015 Amy Barlow Liberatore/Sharp Little Pencil

The painting says it all, if you understand her determination. I have felt like this, too many times. May all who have been abused find peace… peace that does not need this kind of plunge. Amy


Frrp, Frrp, Frrp…

Frrp, frrp, frrp, frrp…
His slippers drag in the hall
Pulls the blanket over her head
It’s Daddy’s nighttime call

She has a lot of sore throats
and trouble swallowing pills
Doctor never questions
rashes that sting like quills

And Daddy took her to the hill
to watch the stars at night
And Daddy brought her home so late
She can’t remember things right

Frrp, frrp, frrp, frrp…
The sound will haunt her dreams
Even though he’s dead and gone
He still looms large, it seems

© 2014 Amy Barlow Liberatore/Sharp Little Pencil

If you’re new here, I hope you will take this recollection of being sexually molested for what it is: Dark truth, frank as blood from a tapped vein. I was a victim; eventually, with work, I became a survivor. This is for anyone who gets a flutter reading this poem. Think about starting therapy. There could be something worth harvesting… and throwing away.

For ABC Wednesday, the letter “F.” Check out the link and find some amazing poets! Amy


Bitter Silence

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!