Daughtertongue | A Poem | Swallow

I taught myself how to read

The way your body moves,

How you behave,

What the sound of your voice means.

You instilled doubt.

I was born doubtless.

And you saw an opening.

And you stuffed the vulnerable,

Expanded nothingness.

It belonged to you.

I grew up within it.

You left it with me.

And it told me all the wrong things.

I enabled it to grow

As I started shrinking alongside it.

Was that your plan?

Absorbing every single piece of me?

Stopping me?

Telling me that I was talentless?

That I would never be good enough?

It happens so often

It has become a cliché.


The way you put me down.

The way fathers put down girls.

Everything it means,

How the slow violence travels,

Long lengths, following me,

Sometimes I barely remember your voice.

It left first.

But, there are moments,

When it comes back and I feel it

In my bones,

In my tense muscles,

Contracted, trying to rebuild my armour,

Trying to become a grown-up as a girl,

Who is afraid of her own father.

You came too close and

I saw too much,

Heard too much,

Felt too much,

Everything you unleashed

And burdened me with,

And yet the weight never shrank,

You’d never rid yourself of

Your demons and cursed

Me for your sleepless red temper.

Photo by ARYANE VILARIM on Pexels.com

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