Hotto, my dearest nanny, what does love mean to you?
why did you not come back to see me?
we lived together like mother and daughter for years
left behind the child screams—why don’t I matter to you?
why aren’t I important to you? I love you—don’t you love me too?
and concludes—my life does not make a difference
something is wrong with me—I am worthless
mother, why do you only find fault with me?
why do you always find something wrong with me?
too loud, too happy, too sad, too inquisitive, too impudent
too difficult, too selfish, too dumb, too disobedient
too this and too that—too straightforward—too exuberant
you handed me over to nurses—abandoned me for months
screamed at me like a fire-breathing dragon—and you beat me
how can I convince you that I am not innately evil
but a worthwhile human being?
father, what worth and value has my life for you
for a man who despises women with unimaginable contempt?
in your mind I belong to a lower caste
why is for you a woman only defined as an object of sex?
what about actions—working—thinking—writing?
I am your child—powerless at the mercy of your brainwashing
see me, father—I am a human being with a brain and talents too
the child could not overcome the stain of worthlessness
no matter how hard she tried to prove
her worth to those around her
© Barbara Rogers
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Screams from Childhood