the body holds the memories

this poem is dedicated to my 9-year old self

i hold fear’s hand
she hangs back, reluctant

when i move forward
she digs in her heels
pulls back sharply
desperate for the safety
of the known and familiar

fear’s eyes roll
to the back of her head
she tucks her tail firmly between
her legs
trembling shaking quivering
“no” she whisper-shrieks, “no.”

the body holds the memories

now i am holding fear’s hand
as we walk through
the neighborhoods of my mind

windows into the past
lie hidden, buried
beneath old growth forests
fear and I take a meandering path
through the undergrowth
she says
“no windows here
might as well head back”
I say
“let’s look”

the body holds the memories

i brush the leaves off
the grimy panes of
a long-forgotten window
i see
myself in the downstairs bathroom when
i was young
huddled with some siblings
(Barbara? Carolyn? Chris? Sue?)
Dad had chased us
angry and bellowing
cornered us in the bathroom
now he was pounding
on the door
which we slammed shut and
locked just in the
nick of time.
it quivers and shakes
underneath his fists

i remember the flat tiled edge
of the bathtub
the cold of the porcelain sink
tense panicked whispers of my siblings —
could we escape through the window?
no too small.

the door held
he eventually grew weary
beer-fueled anger spent

we cautiously crept out
and ran pell mell for the
neighbor’s house.
safe that day.

i hold fear’s hand
she trembles
“we’re safe now” i whisper

the body holds the memories

i hold fear’s hand

fear and i move forward
strong and shaking
together

young veronica

Veronica Beck

Veronica Beck is a technical writer, blogger, and formerly reluctant parent.

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Judy
Judy
2 months ago

Powerful!

Julie W
Julie W
2 months ago

Made me cry. You write so well.

Nan Hughes
Nan Hughes
2 months ago

Wow! So powerfully written…

Jeanne Waters
2 months ago

OK, V, First of all your picture is too darling for words.
Next, I’m going to have to read your beautiful poem over and over again to be able to understand all that you say.
Thank you so much for writing it and sharing it.
Love you,
Jeanne

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