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,
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?
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.