Daddy’s Game

I imagine you must’ve shut

yourself off somehow–the way

you’d eventually teach me to do–

before you entered my door

like a king’s shadow.

I hear the scrape of your jeans,

your hands hot and big like swings.

I’m young so I love you.  I do as you say.

You blow smoke in my face.

Now, here, I slip

because you taught me how to shut off–

how to die inside,

and I have only memories

of my body–

fear, arousal, panic and pain,

death around every corner,




I hid so well I lost me

in this confusion of a woman

trying to bud from

what’s already been picked.

published in Haggard & Halloo, Frigg Magazine, and Aqueous

13 thoughts on “Daddy’s Game

  1. This makes me so sad for my sister, i wish I could’ve done something but what does a 6 yr old know? Childhood abuse needs tone talked about, children DO need to be educated about good touch bad touch! Had I been educated and given the language could I have helped my sisters or myself …I believe the odds would’ve been better, kids deserve better, my brave and beautiful sister deserved better!

    My hope, as a sister to Amy is this…use this for awareness, sexual abuse does happen at YOUNG ages by people they know, by stepfathers living in the same house…teach awareness …teach trust…teach that keeping secrets when you’re being hurt is not ok…teach what love is.

    Amy rights to heal herself…I hope her writing also tea


  2. Tactfully done while getting the horror of it all across to us, amy. In response to nikki’s comment, I am glad to report that my kids’ school district does do “safe touch” education starting in Kindergarten! And I am so glad they do…


  3. ugh knot in the pit of my stomach on this one…working with kids that are abused the last couple lines there rocked me emotionally


  4. You have a great talent for helping those who’ve not experienced these things feel empathy. You make us feel the “fear, arousal, panic and pain.”


  5. This makes me ache for the sadness that remains.

    But maybe in that bud, a new bud flowering will bloom.

    An incredibly emotional poem.

    I think you are courageous to share these words.


  6. Oh this kicks me where it hurts, Amy. I’ve seen this topic been tackled many times and often unsuccessfully (even if it was good as personal catharsis/therapy for the poet), but you go way beyond that here… this really burns the eyes and heart in reading. You stay away from cliché and pen it in its goddamn rawness, pain, shocking reality. I will remember this one for a while (and believe me that doesn’t happen that often… I read one hell of a lot of amateur poetry on a daily basis and only one or two hit me like this).

    Thank you for truth, and raising awareness



  7. A brave and beautiful poem, Amy– I love this:

    “….before you entered my door

    like a king’s shadow

    I hear the scrape of your jeans,

    your hands hot and big like swings.”–

    a true poet only would come up w/ king’s shadow, scrape of jeans, and the killer– hands hot and big like swings. Amazing. xxxj



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