A Daughter’s Choreography

I looked at your face, close to my own,

And saw a villain. I prayed to grow,

Away from your parameters and crimes.

You mastered the magic trick of distilling

My voice out of my body, quenching everything.


I touched my skin and heard your words.

I stared at my face in the mirror and

Listened to your insults. I suppressed my

Heartbeat and my breath under your terror and

Your verbal carnage became a hymn that

I knew inside and out.


I reduced you from a noun to a verb, an influence,

A concoction that I was born with and could rid myself of.

I tried to find that little harmed boy within you.

But I almost despaired at the cacophony of orchestral lies

That made him die and me halt on all fours.

The home you created was a scaffold.


I danced with you for too long and almost

Stomped myself to death. You started to

Spread across my entrails and I couldn’t

Hold on to you. You threw your life away

And created mine to claim it, possess it,

Poison it, disembody it, own it.


You sent me out into the world and I

Realised that I had to take off everything

Given to me by you as your compass directed

Me into dead alleys and bonfires. I had been equipped

With my own nudity and started from scratch.

I became a woman of disassociation.


“Night and Her Daughter Sleep” by Mary L. Macomber (1861-1916)

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