One Woman's Quest

Have you seen her –
the child we lost,
the one who lost herself?

born to a sister
breasts not yet ripe
for motherhood’s call

a passenger
on a perilous ride,
sweetness eclipsed

by a cacophony
of raised voices
the wails of women

helplessly trapped
a smothering drama;
how easily she escaped

slipped from our clutches
found comfort in the streets
preferred coldness of strangers

to the raging fires at home;
lost her to the lure of parties,
an elixir for the empty places,

found her once amongst
the debris of discarded needles
and the haze of sexual reek

the golden halo of youth
now matted clumps of shame
her beauty sunken in shadows

we’d taught her well, it seems –
the art of submission, how to
betray the self, embrace defeat

tried to pick her up, create
a milieu of normalcy, establish
homelike roots, but shams

do not last…

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