making a ghost out of a girl | marital bed daughter | a poem made out of bathwaterhair

he created a little girl

one more

she looked like her mother

that’s what he wanted

she was supposed to be dutiful

keep his wife locked in a cage

look at her eyes

look at your own

you cannot leave now

*

the girl was very young

she’d never have a childhood

he was never there

and if he was it wasn’t good

she needed special attention, special care

the mother did all she could

and needed to leave

*

the daughter was lost in space

in a big torn house

children at each other’s throats

parental mouths, one shouting, the other swallowing

one leaving, one haunting

he saw what he could get from his daughter

what she was ready to offer

to make someone stay

she had no idea

she was a child still

always had been

*

she believed his words

she believed his attention

it came back from the dead

those big blue eyes were not useless after all

he was looking for an ally

a clean slate

a blank page

baby girl with the blonde hair looking like Mommy

the inaccessible wife, the cold marital bed

he put a child inside

and spoke of love

he held his daughter in a fetal position

rocking her body back and forth

comfort me, hold me, stay here with me

and she felt so loved

his body against hers

she took what she could get

he took what he could get

draining daughters, needing daughters

empty house, warm sheets

come back to me, I’m still here

please, don’t leave me

*

it would never be enough

my warm body would never be enough

my face would never be enough

your daughter is not your doll

your daughter is not your wife

your wife is not your toy

you are looking for a mother to play with

to absorb, to fill yourself with

you take and take from women’s bodies

until they forget their names

until their bodies belong to you

until they give without taking

that’s what you were taught

women serve you head to toe

*

and you take your daughter to bed

wishing you were dead

holding her close

imagining that your wife is still near

My own drawing © Laura Gentile 2021 | Instagram: @melpomenepaintings

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