We Are Here: Missing Sunshine

2010-12-08 09:24

Day 14 (8 December 2010)

This poem

forms part of the We Are Here series, a collection of 16 poems by

Antonio Lyons that look at gender violence from a male perspective.

We saw cotton candy sweetness bouncing free on angels’ wings.

A smile that would break the heart and strong white teeth newly weaned from mother’s milk.

She skipped and jumped, while her ruffled skirt danced in her play.

Laughter like crystal chimes in a playful brook flowed from her lips.

She moved her narrow hips in her mother’s image, a game of let’s pretend.

We laughed and shook our heads.

She a shimmering thread that wove our family together.

Baby-soft skin that darkened from cinnamon to nutmeg in her first year. Eyes and limbs that explored a baby’s new world to toddler’s first-time experiences.

A little girl trying to find her teen years, lurking around the corner.

She sparkled with humour and stories that created worlds of magic animals fused with Beyoncé style.

Now she speaks little and a light that could blind shines only a breath above dark.

Heart-shaped glass splintered and darkened. My guiding light. My princess of flight wings clipped. All of daddy’s love and rage couldn’t fit the pieces together again.

Our shimmering family thread broken and tattered.

He watched her with eyes that stripped her innocence and painted her with colours of lust.

When her all-too-familiar skipping and bird-like chatter gave way to dusk.

And no one had seen or heard from her since morning. We sent out a red alert. Near and far the call was heard. Our sunshine was missing.

Finally found,

broken, beaten, breathing (barely).

Grown-man organs stuffed into little-girl spaces over and over again,

body ripped,

soul scarred.

We cried, we railed against God.

And gave thanks...she’s alive.

We cursed God that he would deliver her so.

And prayed...make her whole and happy again.

We turned our back on God.

And turned back again...begging bring that animal low.

We went on for weeks.

Finally, our prayers were answered.

And he was caught, and we were shocked and ashamed.

We never saw the signs and she was not the first.

We failed to protect our light.

He was a neighbour from down the street and around the block.

The kindest man who ran a tuck shop.

We never thought the costs of sweets could be so high.


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