Soft as love the child’s face,
as she listens wide eyed
to a fairy tale,
poised on
her grandmother’s knee
and the edge of sleep.

She feels her uncle’s hand
pain strikes again
as sharp in the remembering
as the past,
she smells his sweat
feels his body heat.

“Don’t stop Nana.”
She chokes a sob
behind her aching eyes
teeth gritting back
the gnawing past
the counsellor said
would come.
The child curls close
against her breast.

“Please stop!” she whispers
fifty years ago
terrified but brave
afraid her mother might come,
burying deep the guilt
her uncle thrusts on her.

Tucking her in
kissing her eyes
she sighs ..
there’s no way back;
guilt can be assuaged
but nothing compensate
the evil violation
of innocence.


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