Your father left me 
for dead with soiled 
               pampers and 
               a scorching 
               Lavender Blue
larynx on his 1960s Green carpet. 
I laid there limp 
in the 
tears destined to preserve me, I cried for you; I
screamed Mommy until I passed out. Yearning  
Your presence cradled me until I was 9. 


Then at 12, 
I spoke through an eroding esophagus, 
a belly on fire from secrets, 
a compressed throat, 
a murmurous heart––  
            I told you what happened.  


       befell You.  


You did what you could only do
as the frightened, helpless abused
     little girl you are  


trapped inside an inflated body of 
comforting blubber and dark sagging skin.
You were so scared. 
You froze 
for the next 
10 years.





But you have such a loquacious tongue 
when avoiding grief.  You tested my 
unwavering love with muteness¬¬.        
You ripped me out, pulled me up,
I was once a dutiful daughter.


I am merely a bouquet of Hydrangeas 
Slowly languishing in the Autumn wind
stranded, without water.


                But still, I love you.
Even after you 
continued to devour a 
pyramid of marshmallow coated 
roasted yams, mash potatoes, 
cranberries, seasoned stuffing, 
and slices of baked turkey
when seated sandwiched between 
me         and         him.


Following the family’s Thanksgiving prayer, 
bite after bite, I lost appetite
                  I began to purge.


Your taciturnity devalued me.
Your swollen 
tongue nearly 
broke my dignity.


                But still, I love you.  
You tried to protect me––
A woman shielding her daughter 
from catcalls and whistles. 
A woman cursing grown men 
on street corners for staring too long, 
yearning to comb her daughter’s 12-year-old curves. 


But woman, 
Your silence made you  a bystander
after I said your father molested me.   


I must help you, 
             never stop loving you. 


You easily feel unheard, 
you hyperventilate.
Your lungs tighten
Your voice drops. 


              You talk in circles. 
              I remind you to breathe.  


And although I wish I could wrest  
Your karma, 
               I can’t.    


Your hair thins in loneliness and your
        blood clots in worries.   

                         I see you. 
                         I forgive you. 


I hold my Truth 
            regardless if you 
             hold mine too.  




Thea Matthews is a BlXicana womxn feminist, born and raised in San Francisco, CA. She is a spoken word artist, survivor of sexual violence; and she often refers to herself as a poetivist (poet + activist). She has a WordPress (theamariematthews.wordpress.com) and a SoundCloud (soundcloud.com/theammatthews).

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