The prompt for today was to write a poem that poses a series of questions. I didn’t mean for this to end up to be such a serious poem, but somehow it did. Poems tend to write themselves, and they also tend to not be “controllable”; it’s just the way of writing. What’s inside comes out whether we want it to or not.
So many situations are full of moments that most outsiders will never see. We never really know the full life experiences of another person even if we think we know them well. Each person and their life experiences are completely unique to them. No one else on the planet can understand 100% what another person feels, even identical twins or the closest of siblings.
But I can tell you this. Even if you cannot possibly know all the burdens another person carries, you can choose to sit with them in their story. I know from firsthand experience of friends sitting with me, it IS possible.
Most people just want a pair of ears connected to a heart that is truly listening. Most people just want to be heard. So this poem is a good reminder for us to listen to others carefully and respond with empathy when they share.
How Can This Be True How can this be true? It is, trust me. But how is is possible now for her to keep that secret for twenty years? It’s possible. You mean she didn’t even tell per parents? It’s possible, mom. But why not? Why wouldn’t she tell her own parents? It’s complicated.
Shame and guilt are complicated emotions, mom. Still, how how is this possibly true? I wonder what her motives are. It’s possible, mom, that her only motive
is to finally speak the truth. Did you see her on television? She must love attention.
Why didn’t she seek to take care of this earlier in private? Sexual abuse is complex, mom.
When you speak out, people don’t believe you.
The victim is victimized all over again. Did you see her face? I don’t believe her.
She looked like she was making it all up. She looked crushed, mom. Absolutely crushed. And here I am still asking why?
Why would she not tell her parents? I answer, but only in my head this time,
what’s the point in trying to explain?
So I jut out my chin and hold my head a little higher
as I answer only to myself -- “Because she can’t go through the grief twice, mom.
She just can’t.”
The voice in my head becomes stronger now-- “Because I can’t go through the grief twice; I just can’t go through the grief twice, mom.” Why don’t women tell? Because no one will believe them. No one will believe me. Not even my own mother.
--A Draft Poem by Carla Jeanne Picklo Jordan
Let me know how what you are writing during this National Poetry Writing Month. Drop me a message in the comments section below.