She smothered us.
Her affection like too-sweet candy,
rotting our teeth and causing pain to linger in our jaws.
A punishment for something we never did
But maybe we deserved it.

She told us that we’d be alright.
That we had “just made a mistake”
Made us believe we were safe while we were
unsuspecting fawns inching towards a wolf’s jaws.

Our hands reached out for Her comfort,
only to be burned by Her flames.
Our weary eyes never brave enough to meet Her stony gaze.

Yet we still loved Her.

The fear of Her made us tip toe wherever we went
Glancing over our shoulders.
Flinching at every sound.

Then She sprouted wings of flames and
her tongue became a knife and
each word branded our backs.
The singe of the whip splitting skin
and our blood cascaded down
like the tears on our cheeks.

Our voices, muted.
Our muscles, quivering.
Our fear of Her froze our voices,
yet we begged our throats to let it pass:

It took some time before we realised,
before we stopped ripping ourselves apart
for Her love.

It took some time before we saw that it was never love;
All She could do was give us pain.

Photo: Peter Forster on