Sitting with Violence



Sit down, with Me,

She beckoned, demanded



Jaw tightening,

Vocal chords constricting

Paralysis seizing my being

Energy numb, frozen,

Her invite

Laced with all that I feared


My whole said inside


I can’t. I won’t


But then,

Doubt wavered in

Not of her

But of I

For my need,

my longing,

my uncertainty

Yearning to connect

To an Other,

An anchor

To this life

So No collapsed

And lost her footing

And watched something young,

With refusal,

Who couldn’t, wouldn’t listen

Walk forth

And sit,

despite No calling

And there was I,


Between compliance and violation

all at once,


For the child I was

Wanted to be held

In arms, in minds,

In hearts.

Great time has passed

Some wounds filled with care

Others still aching

For their attendance

Yet I will no longer quarrel

No longer insist,


They change.

As I learn with my own sweet children

My child, inside, sweet and golden,

In her hurt, her pain,

Her woe

Requests my kindness

My gentle love, grace and guidance


So I can keep banging

And scolding

And raging

When I can’t get in

To all that lies buried

But, it is of now

I realise, Yes

Now I may sit

With the torment,

And welcome the violence

That had long ago devoured

My organs

And the more I stay,

dropping down,

with quietness and presence,


The more I see

The anguish

And despair

Of the woman who bestowed

Upon me

Her deepest sorrow

The more I witness her own raging, petrified child


The one that needed bearing,



Just like mine

Terror pervaded my cells

For the violence that haunted

this heritance

These long, uninhabited years

Yet for now,

I choose

to be with us, her and I,

Not run

But allow compassion,

Yes, instead

To flood

The horror

And fear of our legacy

For now, I can imagine

No other way

Illustration: John Bauer

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