Unlocked and Got Past by Karen Barton

Rough hewn aggregate of bad seeds,

From violent father, insouciant mother,

A conglomeration of disappointed

Ambitions, abandoning by lovers

That further chipped away and misshaped you

Pent up rages that sought retribution.

Born from your bad seed,

Transient fathers and violent mother

Too smart for my own good, apparently

Prejudged, No better than I aught to be

Kept your dirty secrets, hidden bruises

‘Neath incongruous charity shop clothing,

Capacious folds shrouding my raw scabs

Scars map your angers compassionless course

I manufactured my moral compass

Picked my stony path through your bleak landscape

Sought safe havens, locked doors barred your attacks

‘I’ll hate you when I’m grown up’, defiance

Shouted through door jams crack,

I’ll tell everyone, they’ll all know the truth

Complaisant, you knew I never would.

Mouth shut as the doors I cowered behind.

You swaggered to your bed, shared with my

Sister, the next warped generation, I

Waited, listened, fearing a ruse, shivered

Huddled against the radiator, heat

And hope, dying

Life went on, surviving, I escaped,

My sister left home, finally, you were


I carry you still, the burden I shoulder

The fibromyalgia caused by trauma

Ground teeth, aching gums from years clamping

My mouth


But this is my life, roughhewn aggregate

Worn smooth like my teeth, that open, release

This conglomeration of memories

That tell my truth, no retribution here

Just release from you, release from all fear

Karen Barton is currently studying a Creative Writing BA (Hons) with the Open University and is the moderator for several online creative writing forums. She is currently setting up an writers café group where creative conversation will flow like caffeine.

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