The Wink

He winks at me
across a crowded room,
he does it a lot. It means:

I’m here.
Be good.
Do as you’re told.
Watching you.
Isn’t this fun.

The wink flies across heads and canapés on paper plates. It rides on the chatter of braying voices and smacks me, hard, a sucker punch, somewhere just below my belly
where it tweaks the invisible like my mother’s taut guitar string and steals my breath.

And it reminds me of
JR Ewing and the white petals of paper walls
of the smell of blue felt
and the taste of amber in cut glass and cigarettes.

Where I feel it slide. Down to my place where muscle, bone and nail searched blindly for my soul and found it.
Where prising and gouging was replaced with lamenting flesh that moaned, startling pink. A secret wound of mine that hides in the mirror.

I grab at myself
to pull out the wink
“Euw Mum! She’s doing it again!” my sister shrieks and I understand shame is here to stay. It’s mine now.

… (Part Two) How TO respond to a survivor

My previous post what not to say to a survivor stemmed from a thread on Twitter that was liked and retweeted many times. Survivors identified with the responses from others after disclosing their own child sexual abuse. Some added more to the list. One person replied with ‘thank you for sharing. What would be helpful to say to a survivor?’ and I began to reflect on responses that had helped me.

Continue reading “… (Part Two) How TO respond to a survivor”
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