She is Daddy's girl
he informs me
he is possessive of her
his little girl,
it is a threat

her little body clenches
when I change her diaper,
she eyes me warily
as I wipe her clean,
when I clothe her
she goes limp
  relief on her forehead

Mommy comes to take her home
Jessie runs to greet her,
when Daddy arrives at my door
Jessie cries
her beseeching eyes
scorch my skin

Jessie sobs bleakly
when pushed by my son
she does not fight for toys.
Her eyes cloud,
she has learned
it is pointless to object

Jessie picks at her food.
Her mother bemoans
that she will not eat,
she has no appetite.

Jessie is already
two but has few words, something
is blocking her throat

except at night
when she screams against bedtime,
her mother tells me. Nightmares terrorize Jessie's dark,
she only sleeps
if Mommy lies beside her,
What could she be afraid of?

The child protection people tell me
they need evidence
before they can investigate,
they need disclosures
    medical signs

he does not meet my eyes,
he clutches her hand
as tears flow mute
    down her face,
she leaves wordless with him,
his body towering beside her
as they walk down my lane
out of view

Marion Van den Boomen
London, Ontario

Back Contents Next