Shame

He said // This is your fault.
It was twenty-three years ago.
When I tried to speak dirt choked my
throat
so I lay on the forest floor
a summer storm cooling the earth
and I was quiet
as he destroyed me.


I could smell the rain that night.
I can smell the dirt of the forest floor
each time it has rained since.

* * *

She said // Mum, I want to die.
I watch her small body
curl into itself
her deep pools for eyes
cast down to her feet
to the dirt
willing the earth to swallow her whole.
Her forest floor
is the empty classroom behind B Block.

* * *

The principal told me it was a he said she said situation

He said // is the summer storm.

It would be easy to sink into the sodden
earth
into the forest floor
and stay quiet
and choke and drown
under the flood of

he said.

* * *

I am dark, heavy clouds thundering out of
the school office.
I can smell the storm coming
but this time
I will not be quiet
and she will not stay quiet
and she will not choke on the dirt
and we will not sink
and we will not drown
This time
I said // Darling, this is not your fault.

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