little child, blonde
eyes blue as welsh waterfalls
it is not your fault
that you were hurt
it is not your fault
that you found things hard
little boy, blonde
with clouds in one eye
they told you that you
were not innocent
you were bad
and well
you need to know
that a few broken toys
stitches in the lip and
scribbles on the wall
were not
deserving of beatings
on school mornings
you need to know
that when you cry
you do not need to be ashamed
that when you cried
because you were hurt
that it was valid
you did not deserve
to be punished
for things you
could not control
little child, blonde
showing off your missing teeth
I wish I could hold you
now and whisper strength
into your young ears



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
at least I had my dolls and their hundreds of outfits
there were no adults in their world to fuck things up