We’ve been told that sticks and stones may break our bones but words can never hurt us.
But that’s not true is it?
For my bones remain untouched by stones but these words continue to haunt me.
I’ve been told it’s because I’m a woman and I’m too sensitive
But I think it’s just because I’m a person
Who has a memory and a heart
And whose past bleeds into my future.
I think I’ve never seen you throw a stone or wave a stick maliciously,
But I’ve heard your voice behind the words that left me standing vulnerably;
Exposed into the darkness of the daylight and the brightness of the night.
And I see those words encircle me and invade my very self.
I have to remind myself to say “excuse me” and find my way out,
For these days are long and these years are short and your voice still finds ways to follow me.
Even after the sticks have been picked and the stones have been gathered
I find myself here, choosing to break the words back down into letters and cast them away into the alphabet
That I sing to my son every day
So that he may learn words.
But not yours.