To testify is not to rectify.

I knew what testify means.

It means you go to the court and tell.

But I had to look up rectify.

It means to make it better.

Even if I have to go to court to tell what happened he will find me and he will knife me.

He has a knife because I saw it.

I know it he will knife me.

Not even a safe house can be safe enough.

It is a big knife and he will cut me.

You do not know him.

I know him because he is my father.

My father who raped me in the mouth over and over and over.

When they rape you in the mouth you are sucking them but it is still rape.

It is your own fault to do it.

If I did not suck him he will kill me with knives.

I like knives.

I had many knives but Kilian took them away.

I want my knives back so I can fight when men want me to suck them.

People do not believe me because they are haters like him.

Sometimes men follow me down the street.

Sometimes they find me on the Internet.

They want to have sex with me and I do not want to do it because when they make me suck them I throw up.

I want to cut them.

If you bite them they will knife you.

To testify is not to rectify.

If they make me testify he will find me.

I may as well go back there and be raped in the mouth so he does not kill me.

It is my own fault because I told.

I will kill myself.

I do not want to go to the court because he will be there.

I do not want to look at him.

A safe house is where this kinds of bad men cannot know where you live.

But they might find you and kill you and cut you up and put you in a plastic bags and freeze you.

I will cut him, too.

It is all I can think about.

A safe house is a place where they will help you when it is all you can think about he will find you are rape you in the mouth.

I know how to hang myself when he finds me and you cannot stop me.

I will cut myself.

Please do not let him find me.

He wants to find me so I do not come to the court.

I wish I was dead because it would be safe then.

A safe house will hide you if it is a good safe house.

To testify is not to rectify.

There is no one who can make it better.

I like YouTube but I do not want to be nowhere he can find me on YouTube.

To make it better I want to be safe in a safe house so I do not get killed or raped in the mouth.

It is my own fault my life is a mess.

If you are sucking them it is still a rape in the mouth.

People are very bad men.

That is my poem.

The end.


Switching off the bedroom light © Carolyn Srygley-Moore

We switch off the bedroom light       the white ceiling globe dims.

We lie down           deaf to the world          beginning


a kind of listening we had not heretofore

known       in the dark.       The dogs are waiting


outside the door            for walk, for food, for their name

called.               It is our time.



We are both Irish enough in heritage      that we eat potatoes

raw in bed          remembering the famine.  We gnaw the light.


We are not hungry.          We are clapping our hands over our heads

swaying       holding cigarette lighters into the darkness


as someone sings about light      & love     & sweats

while doing so.      We switch on the lights


we even pray a little:            we know each other's scars



by rote.          We recite them like children's verses

like Goodnight Moon.              Our daughter waits for the schoolbus


on a plastic green chair      pulled from the tigerlily garden: waits       in the pouring rain

& we pray for her safety. God how we pray


for the war's end.


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