virtue

she extolled unto me these virtues of purity
jesus’s little namesake, the girl who carried
all of the world on her tiny shoulders
she fell in love with my father because he
took care of himself and loved his own company
she created me and poured me into her mould
of self-flagellation and crucifixed guilt
I take responsibility for my childhood actions
somehow still believing I could have
controlled what I understood at the tenderest age
be merciful and meek, Jesus said
lie down in the dirt and open your heart for
those who scorn and deride you
be quiet, content and suffer, he said to the child
with the imagination gifted from heaven
or risk burning and writhing in the pit of agony
for all eternity and more, sin sinner.
well all children’s stories have a moral to keep
I suppose I kept those ones especially close to my
little heart and kind, and let them reave me deeply
all of us are bad by nature of existence, my Sunday fathers told me
only the good Lord can save your sinner’s soul, little beauty.
meanwhile, my father stayed in his shed, dying
of cancerous ravages, tinkering with boiler parts
fixing his stereo, and considering the Kew steam
engines that came on every second Sunday.
God, what have you done?
what tortured women are you trying to create?
I escaped out of that adult world I inhabited
that world of emotional torment and suffering and fear
into my own internalised mind fantasy clutches
swirling and whirling on the badness of my character
well
at least I had my dolls and their hundreds of outfits
there were no adults in their world to fuck things up

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