in memoriam peggy

she was looking but not looking

just beyond the naked boys
being beaten by their mother
an angry monster
with a smoker’s cackle

and in this way the
boys looked only like
twisted shadows of pain
cast against the wall

she was listening but not listening

to the sounds of abuse
a dark tune in her head
the steady beat of leather
against broken flesh

and in this way the
piercing wails seemed
more like high pitched echoes
ringing from afar

she was there but not there

bearing witness to nothing
anyone cared about –
was it a secret if no one
wanted to know?

and in this way it
never really happened
not even when she tried
to mention it to her parents

she learned but did not comprehend

years later, the allegory of
the caves, which for her classmates
was just a theory, but for her
was her childhood, her world

quavering shadows on a dim wall
distorted echoes of reality
her place among the darkly chained
what she knew about life for so long

and even now, she knows but does not really understand


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