Barbed Wire Heart

wrapped tightly

in rusty barbed wire
the caged heart beats
listless and erratic
an out-of-time clock…

cruel thorns stab
draws tainted blood
that drips poisonous and black
down constricted ribs
forged by shame and blame…

©️2023 jai

Image by Birgit Röhrs from Pixabay

You Want More

People are looking at me funny, especially the ladies at the registers, ’cause I come here nearly every day. But I can only buy what I can carry home. Mama can’t come and we need food, and if anyone finds out Mama can’t come, me and Lizzy and Josh will have to go to one of those foster homes. And they ain’t good places to be.

I know ’cause I was put in one last year. Lizzy and Josh was put in them too.

My third-grade teacher, Miss Fincher, had seen my busted lip and had called someone and they’d picked me up at school and taken me to this place where a woman in white had looked at me all over, my privates too. I hadn’t liked that one bit. Then she’d told a big woman with red hair that I had been “physically abused.”

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Inside My Head

nowhere is safe
I’ve heard it said
one place is safe—
inside my head

there, no one can touch
there, no one can hurt
there, I am a rock
solid, hard—a little girl cursed

half a century of walls
erected, plastered, pasted, glued
hold the pieces of me together
never to be moved

do not look for a door
for no opening will be found
ironclad, it shelters an innocent child
who built her safe place around

a damaged mind
a tormented heart
protected from the monsters
who gleefully tore her apart

no comfort for this little child
for no one can enter this castle deep
all alone, forever alone
she sits there yet and weeps

©2023 jai

Image by Anja from Pixabay