• rachealjosephpoet

Fear or Respect

I can't forget the whipping stick, whistling as it struck,

the sting it gave, like ants that bite and leave a burning pain.

a leather strap leaving its mark as bright red welts on soft brown skin.

Fear pulsing through every vein, whenever you appeared.

I can't forgive the Lord above; you called on him to give you strength,

strength to raise your hand against a child;

The punishments that were meant to teach obedience and respect,

though as a child I had no choice but to obey.

I am an adult now and you have long since passed away.

I want to say, I no longer fear, but memories still linger.

I know I should forget, but I cannot.

It saddens me to find no gesture in my heart that can forgive.

Respect is something that you earn and if it comes from fear

it's not the same.


(Tales From A West Indian Childhood published 2020 Morgan's Eye Press)


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