FatherFigureGirls | A Midnight Poem

As a young girl I saw everything.

Of you. Every terrifying bit, unspoken.

I’ve studied you, the pretentious saint,

The capabilities of man,

The actor and director, the limelight

On your face and hands. What your body

Did overtly, in hidden corners, around midnight.

Your lips on my cheeks, I barely remember them.

The man who wanders through the night, through women,

Through me as a child, I don’t know who my father is

And I know so well. You think of me as harmless –

But your behaviour taught me that I have to bite

If I want to survive, if I want to live,

There was no difference for you, the world was out to get you

And you nurtured and harvested a blind audience

And you wanted to blind me too but

I was born with my fists out

Against you and yes,

There were times of weakness

When I was on my knees begging for love

Because I felt so alone, so exhausted,

Being told too often that I lived in my own world –

Unrelatable, unbelievable, unrecognisable,

And they failed the truths that I expressed in my own language.

Because you never said a word.

You created worlds that nobody could see,

That everybody denied existed,

That have been there since the dawn of time,

And I was born as you put yourself in me, in her,

Pieces of you that I will never get to know,

Revealing themselves to me as I’m pushed over the edge,

Becoming man, becoming animal, becoming hungry for blood,

As a child from your flesh, I give you pieces of me

To survive you, and nobody can see, nobody ever sees them

And you live with my scars as decorations on your head,

The laurels of my spine, my childhood, and you keep denying.

That I live in one world and you in another.

That we know nothing, that we will mourn and mourn,

That we shouldn’t dare mourn, you spoke of your own death

And painted blood on our walls, in our minds,

Throughout your whole life and yet fought and raged against

The end of your life, because you hold on, don’t you?

Hold on to us, to us children, because we gave you life

And called our sacrifices yours, over and over again,

Blaming us for being alive and draining us at the same time,

Seeking father figures in familiar devils,

Legs open wide, inhabit us, I want to be loved,

But that’s not what you’re giving, is it?

No, you possess, you obsess, you devour my childhood,

You take when people are on their knees,

When people are scared to death you open their mouths

And split their souls and you reek and they collapse

Within themselves, I gave my body to the father figure,

And now I am taking back the pieces of my soul,

The broken glass that metamorphosed into shards,

Because you know, father, that I,

My mother’s daughter, am anything but harmless.

“Young seamstress” by Alexei Harlamov (1840-1925)

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