a showing up

Stay good, stay pristine

and you won’t give me a showing up.

Stay silent, don’t move,

and I won’t need to show you why you’re sorry.

Stay mine, don’t have an opinion,

and I won’t slap you around my table.

Stay perfect, don’t pull your ribbon out,

and I won’t need to adjust you in public.

Stay close to me, don’t challenge me,

and I won’t need to give you a showing up.

This poem is for NaPoWriMo Day 20, challenging us to write in the voice of a family member. This is from my abusive mother.

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leaning into the lonely

There’s a magnetic lean to the front

of the elderly, knowing they’re dying.

Will I be next, they say

as their curiosity bends in

to smell the freshly tossed earth,

circling the inevitable grave.

There’s a reticence from the heart

of the broken soul knowing it’s over.

Will I finally leave, they ask,

as they submit to one more abuse

from a partner who says they deserve it.

When will alone beat feeling lonely?

A poem by an abused yellow ribbon

I’m a yellow ribbon, a strip of citrine satin.

I have to stay in place or something bad will happen.

My favourite shape on earth is the cutest of all bows.

But woe betide my fate if I slip or make a show.

I’m always a close match for my Era’s underwear.

Any sense of contrast prompts her mother’s evil stare.

She ties me tight with fingers that feel they’re full of hate.

Era sits so calmly still, afraid to aggravate

the rage that simmers low in her mother’s uptight jaw,

prone to bubble up and spout its vengeful, spiteful law.

I’m meant to know my place, not venturing round or out.

To the rules of hair-braid ribbons, I’m perfectly devout.

If I ever dare to sin, end up all a-tangle,

I hate to feel mom’s wrath, and Era in a wrangle.

My satin is not meant to be pulled with cruel intent,

but my dangling yellow threads cause heated argument.

I know I am to blame for a temporary lapse of hold.

My lack of self-control’s bound to cause a slapping scold.

If I had stayed done up, Era’s tears might cower inside.

But that witch of a mother? She’s always time to chide.

I’d like to wrap my softness around my Era’s cheek

But she’s stinging from the slap. She dare not make a squeak.

In Era’s inner world, I guess she’s a rainbow child.

I wish instead of blows I could be her source of smiles.