A Child Stolen by Deirdre Parkes

A Child Stolen

Calloused and rough,
your hand gently caresses my hair,
a rambling story of your youth
often heard before.

my mouth forms the response
as you tell a new story
a story of manhood unfolding.

The curtains smell of stale drink
they block out the light, and my innocence.
Cigarette burns on the covered floor
I know that story too.

The sudden heat of skin unfolded
the mouth that gently speaks
the hand that tells its own story.
Eyes turned away in disbelief

this story has a different ending.
No sleeping beauty wakened with a kiss,
just the terrible knowledge
of your Guinness tainted breath.

by Deirdre Parkes

Editor’s Note: The broken punctuation of this poem forces the reader to revisit these lines more than once, and it is through this rereading that one discovers the trauma that lies at the ending of the story.