Dear Father

Dear Father,

I forgive you

I forgive you for my childhood

I forgive you for the horrors I endured at the mercy of your hands

I forgive you

For the corrupt behavior I experienced in your home

For the mistreatment

The abuse

Sexual, physical, and emotional

The bruises, black eyes, and empty stomachs,

The beating, the biting, the hot irons, and the punching,

The shitting in my own closet,

Being housed in a basement room away from everyone else

So as to not wake the neighbors with my screams,

Being locked in my room for days at a time

Restrained to my bed post with handcuffs.

I forgive you for the house of horrors I endured in your care.

But I do not forget.

I do not forget

The bruises, their shapes and sizes, their beautiful galaxy hues

I do not forget

The look on your foolish laughable face

The sly smirk that would always creep along the width of your cheeks

When the first signs of a bruise would appear under my skin

I will not forget the ways my own body protected me more than my own father:


My body, in all of her beauty and strength,

Healed my bruises, my black eyes, my burns in the shape of a hot iron

But what she couldn’t heal, though she tried her best, are the wounds that lie beneath my surface.

The nightmares, the flashbacks, the agitation, and jumpiness at the gentle touch of a hand.

Though she tried her hardest, she was never able to heal my soul of its fragmented state.

The mistrust, the self-harm, and eating disorders,

All learned behavior from your mistreatment and hate.

My therapist, the saint she is, had a big bloody job to do when I showed up at her office door.

I forgive you, father, for what you have done.

But my mind, my body, my heart, and my soul,

We shall not ever forget.


Biographical Note: Kole is a Junior in Accounting at Grand View University and enjoys writing poetry in her spare time. Her purpose as a poet is to encourage open dialogue on the topics of physical and sexual abuse, depression, anxiety, and suicidal thoughts and ideations.