What he did not take from me
He took from me through shame,
And by stripping me
Into a peerless, hollow reflection
Of my once beautiful self.
He ripped my clothes,
And forced me to call my father
To proclaim myself a whore.
A friend once paced outside my room for hours,
And he threatened to break down the door…
But he never did.
NOBODY ever did.
He proclaimed my enemies
Were the friends whom I held close,
So he plucked them,
Like feathers from my back,
Until my wings could not catch the wind,
And I could no longer see beyond the fences
That were built to cage me in.
Therefore no one could speak out in protest.
I carried our child for nine months,
Whispering love and sonnets
Into his unborn ears,
But he failed us both
Long before our son was even born.
I was threatened
That he would take our child,
Though no love had been spared
Nor one liberty removed.
I was to be deemed unfit,
I was to forget
And to be forgotten
For his carnal need to control
And his requirement that I submit
To a life of silent servitude.
I have been tripped, choked, and slapped.
I have been raped, degraded, and denied intimacy.
I have been belittled, objectified, and isolated.
I have been stolen from.
I have been diminished.
I have been unearthed entirely.
All by the man who vowed
To love, honor, and obey.
DO NOT ask me then, why I stayed.
Instead, explain to me why
YOU didn’t help me go.
©2012 Jessica Stephenson All Rights Reserved
(Finally complete, with about a half an hour to spare! This took a lot out of me, but so far has represented my usual work most accurately. I came out of a six month dry spell to work on this project, but I feel my strength in the written word returning.)