Uninterrupted innocence

Kids Jumping into Lake ChippewaPigeon-chested children with streaming noses

dive weightless into still water

breaking circles into smaller circles, rebounding against


their laughter feels like a cold hand around my neck

as I imagine their futures

the girl with the black hair, she’ll be raped by her uncle

her mother will tell her, she is a dirty little liar

she will start taking pills at ten and graduate to heroin

when the school counselor asks her, where it all went wrong

she will think of the sunlight through trees

elm, willow, plain oak and cypress

the sound of her unmolested body, falling into water

as if baptized in reverse

the turn of her mother’s neck, in denial

her thick coral lips, mouthing betrayal

my brother would not do that

her own diminishing and the feeling

of wet, cold, bathing suit




and she will not know, how to verbalize

that separation of self or why

it seemed permissible to sell her body for drugs

let men cut her up, into shards of her former wholeness

like fast food tastes bad

once it has been opened

she does not know, how it stopped mattering

if she protected, those broken walls within her

they were already torn down

that’s what she’d say, if she hadn’t

consumed her tongue and turned it hard

like a cliffs edge seems strong but crumbles

and the counselor, sighs and shakes her head

going home, only to wonder what more

she could do, to reach lost children

and the black-haired girl, gets her fix and slips

once more beneath glassy-eyed waves

this time, she can see herself

her blanched face, her loose fingers empty

letting go of all pain and slipping

like worry beads

deeper and deeper

and if I could, I would

walk backward in time

pluck her drenched and empty

fill her with sunlight and sound

reverberating like a crack in the world

opens and reveals a new passageway

she would come with me into the forest

her younger self remaining

jumping from the jetty with her friends

caught in elasticized moments

too free to escape the laughter

of uninterrupted innocence


31 thoughts on “Uninterrupted innocence

  1. This made me so sad….. I feel for every girl or boy who endures this…. I have friend on WordPress and Facebook who went through this as well involving on his own uncle. He has a beautiful wife, daughter and son now…and he’s happy now…I know he is. but I think it was a deep struggle for him. He’s talked about some but I know it keeps deep… deeper than anything…and it sits in you but he has good things now to push it all down …..I am very happy for him…cuz he’s a great guy…. Love this poem C

  2. Thank you – I know it’s sad and I hesitated about that but it’s that whole kick of mine – to speak out about things that CAN change. I suppose in that sense I’m an optimistic (shock!) because I truly believe we can stop this. That’s why I support John Walsh, I have long admired his tenacity with this subject-matter and that he did so much after the loss of his own son. So many carry this abuse, both male and female, and say nothing their entire lives, it is a cancer, and a struggle as you say, and I admire those who survive so very much, but know for each survivor there is a death, whether physical or spiritual. Thank you because I know you and I know you care and I know you make the world a better place because of that. Remember that.

  3. So powerful from an innocent start. Many of us know someone who has gone through something similar. Sad that we don’t want to talk about it. Perhaps we didn’t know how to listen or the voice was too low. Well done!

  4. So tragic, to think of the number of kids this very thing has, and will in the future, happen to. I feel for anyone who has dealt with this, most likely from someone they should have been able to trust rather than fear. Sickening.

  5. A good freind went through this. I’m not sure how many people she’s talked to about this. I know it was hard to accept in the family, even harder because she didn’t have the strength to support the claims of her cousin who was telling her mom and was not believed.
    I hurt reading your poem. Yet I love how optimistic it sounds in the end. I love the imagery of course, because you’re a master at that.
    Thank you.

  6. Amazing, poetic journey only you could take us on. I am at a loss for words to describe the power and emotions here. To be read again and again….to soak in and appreciate you and thank you for sharing your gifts!

  7. I am in awe of this haunting melody played out in words. How do you see inside me like you do?
    I was wlking with a friend in this foreign land I work in and we passed a house of “ill repute” and my friend asked me if I knew what the girls in the window were with obvious disgust in his voice.
    I replied that I did and what the reason for his disgust was and he replied that those women were selling themselves and that was terrible.
    I said that I disagreed. I said that I do not believe that any girl ever wakes up in the morning and decides to sell away that most precious gift on a whim. Moreover that I thought that chances were very good that those girls were reduced by some circumstance to using the only thing they thought they had left of value to survive.
    Also that there was a very good chance that a man somewhere along the line had caused this circumstance.
    Then I asked him if circumstances were such that he could comply and beautiful woman offered to pay him for his services would he take her up on it? Can you guess his answer? How is that different I asked.
    I love your work and appreciate it to no end. Thank you for sharing.

  8. I feel sad for anyone going through or who went through this. But that is not my predominant emotion. What I feel is a cold rage. I just want to find those who do this and exact vengeance. There is no space in the world for these people. So they should cease to take up space.

  9. When I was young no one ever talked about these things, yet I know they happened as there were so many kids in class who never smiled, who looked down at their desks and ducked out of normal chatter and play. So many who were always getting into trouble, those who couldn’t learn. It was only in retrospect that I came to realize what must’ve been going on in their lives, the lack of love and understanding that deprived them of a real childhood. Your poem is a most eloquent portrayal of such children who grow up forsaken and lost. At least today there is more awareness and hopefully humankind (an ironic word in this context) will someday evolve into a more noble species. Poetry such as yours raises our consciousness – so yes, there is hope. 💐🌻

  10. That picture was basically my twin brother and me. We did that a thousand times. Jumped off our dock into the lake. It was a beautiful thing. Until it was taken.

  11. So sad, how the child doesn’t even realize, that these, were the very final moments of innocence she will ever behold, as what followed, was nothing less, than the cruelties of the world she lives in…

  12. This is very painful to read but it happens in the best of families.
    Writing about it can help all who might have experienced it or know others who lived through the pan.
    You show true courage in your writing.


  13. Bruises and scars of physical abuse are tearful wounds on the heart. But, with the love, compassion, patience and help from those who care. The innocence of the pure can be saved.

    And the monsters of midnight and midday will stopped. Thanks for sharing love bug you are doing great.

  14. “the girl with the black hair, she’ll be raped by her uncle

    her mother will tell her, she is a dirty little liar

    she will start taking pills at ten and graduate to heroin”

    Raped by her uncle, guru, father, neighbour, school teacher, priest, etc.
    Powerful poem.

  15. Thank you so much! I try to be an advocate, people don’t want to think about it they still ignore it, but it’s not going to go away. Even if it’s unpopular, we need to reinforce our voices.

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