Little Sister

Little sister,
I wasn’t there to see your first days in the place
you will call home more than I ever did.

I didn’t have the opportunity to hear your first words,
because the ones I wanted to exchange with your mother
would just lead to an argument--
so when asked if I wanted to visit,
I chose to stay silent.

I couldn’t witness your first steps.
I was too busy running away from a man
that contributed to us being born,
but hasn’t done much for me since.

Little sister,
I can’t stop hearing you ask why I was leaving early.
How am I supposed to explain to you,
an eight year old girl, that the reason I can’t spend the night is
because the monster that hides under my bed
is the one we call father?

I’m scared that they’ll make you what I am--
a shadow of a living corpse with a single thought
that overtakes them all, a limp puppet whose ventriloquist
doesn’t know how to pronounce the words,”I need help.”

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