archives, poetry

21: They Called You a Hero. {poetry}



Watching over my shoulder, like a prisoner tasting freedom for the first time

My heart raced, as your march changed from a cadence to a shuffle of shackles

21 years of camouflage cover, released the being of my soul

The strike of the mallet on the stand, startled like a bomb upon silence

An exceptional sentence, the judge said, releasing 21 years of my captivity

They called you a hero, now you’re a prisoner


You loved me like no other, you said, a special love between a father and a daughter

You told me to keep it together, You said, Bend down, bend over. Yes, sir!

The ‘yes, sir’ was silent, even though I came to attention every time you said to do so

Submitting every inch of my physical being

Although my mouth was shut tight like a zipper during a cold winter storm, my mind held on, with all it had, never wanting to give in

They called you a hero, I called you the enemy

This can’t be forever


You penetrated me like a tomahawk missile through the side of a brick building

Pressure like no other, tearing edge by edge, in slow motion

I could feel the burning, the aftereffects of the attack that shook me from my head to my toes

Hovering like a drone in the night, I would look down and watch the heinous fight

You are the glue of this family, you said

I felt like a kamikaze being thrown into a suicide

I will maintain my silence

Until my grave is around me

This can’t be forever


A blanket lay upon my lap covering the shame

As the Brady Bunch played on the TV

You grasped my innocence between your fingers, the same fingers that held your cigarette, and you stripped me away

All I wanted was to laugh and run and play, but you took it all away, my trust, my purity, my virginity

The rubble was all around me, I caught my breath as the dust settled, waving the white flag of surrender

Your status of soldier didn’t make you a hero


I don’t exactly remember, from the safety of my mother’s womb, to the monster you were hiding

The doctor slapped my butt, searching for the sound — as the cries came, you knew life was just given to your sex toy

I didn’t know how to speak or fight, being pure and new. Skin of porcelain, eyes of innocence, arms and legs of zero control

I didn’t know any different, I could even fight it, I lay there and allowed it

Infancy was the beginning, you said

The beginning of you stealing my childhood, my soul.


Pennie Saum is a voice-seeker, writer and blogger. She is candid regarding her abuse, and is actively involved in advocacy and changing laws to assure rights for other survivors of child sexual abuse. She is passionate about helping other victims cross the line into being survivors with a voice, as well as helping others embrace themselves and evolve. You could contact her via emailTwitterInstagram or Facebook.


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