I Never Thought that I Would Do to You

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Poems About
Child Abuse

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Copyright by
Nicholas Gordon

I never thought that I would do to you
The terrible things my father did to me.
But here I am consumed with bitter rage,
Beating you with fists I can't control.

It is as though my father were within me,
Smirking at my helplessness as I
Do the things I can't believe I'm doing,
Slapping, punching, growling like a dog.

"You see? You see?" he says. "I couldn't help it!
My father did it to me, and I to you.
And now you to your son. Come join the circle,
And when he has a son, he'll join us, too!"

"No! No!" I answer silently. But I
Go on beating, beating, beating who?
Myself? My father? But it is only you
Who lies there screaming, scrunched into a ball.

Why? Why do I do this? Why? I wonder
As I watch myself go on and on.
Then suddenly I'm done. The thing is over.
And you, as I once did, weep to the wall.

I'm sorry, sorry, sorry, so ashamed.
I touch your shoulder gently, and you shudder.
The remorse is so much worse than was the beating.
I remember. But I cannot help it.

I take you in my arms. You lie unmoving,
Surrendering your body, not your heart.
I know that I will never, never reach you.
And still I hope without hope for your love.

My fear and shame are like a dark cocoon.
They were when I was you, are with me still.
I'm safe within our shared disgust and horror.
I know like me you'll never say a word.

Copyright by Nicholas Gordon

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