Sunday, 6 February 2011

To a stalker priest

In 1988, my sister and I wrote to the priest who had violated our integrity, confronting him with what he had done. His reply was a smarmy and accusatory denial. This was my response:   

Oct 5th, 1988

My body remembers.
When sister read your letter on the phone,
I could only say: “SHIT! SHIT! SHIT!
Childish words for a childish reaction. A delayed reaction.

When sister sent me the letter, I was angry, yes, at first.

Angry enough to demand an answer.
Then I died. Just a little.
I could walk and talk but I could not think.

The shadow had touched me again, and killed me again.

Just a little.

“What you’re feeling is wrong I know best,
and I know what you’re feeling,
and what you feel is not what you say you feel.
You’re wrong! I say this because I love you.”

How many years have I heard that?

My body grew heavy with lies and insoluble dilemmas.

Longing for forgetfulness in sleep.
But my body remembers what happened when I slept in the night.
And I cannot sleep and live a lie at the same time.
My head hears voices. Calling my name.
Telling me what to think, feel, react to.

My body remembers nausea. I start throwing up, 26 years later.

My body remembers anxiety.. My back aches, as it did then.

My stomach aches. My life aches.

My throat aches, with the pain of rage and terror unscreamed

of betrayal and helplessness unwept.
My body remembers dirty. I wallow in filth,
to mask the inner filth I feel.

Death and nausea and filth.

My body remembers trying to explain. My hand writes.

Hoping again to find the magic words that will change you,
make you into something I need you to be,
something more than a petty torturer
who amputates children with God and sex
to make himself a little bigger.

My mind reads what I have written and rejects it.

As I finally reject you, once and for all.

I dream

that sewage has leaked all over my house.
And I look at the mess and say:
“I have to clean up,
but will I ever get the stink away?”

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