The Secret

I felt two rhythms in the hallway.
Mama is singing a sweet lullaby from the door,
Soothing herself as much as me,
and the yelling becomes a gentle drum beat
in the background.

As I grow, so do the excuses.
Her lullabies stop
and fairytales start
but I am doubtful that
I could just kiss a frog
and feel better.

I am 8 now,
I have a cupboard in my room.
Mahogany curved into mysteries
A heart my brother carved in the bottom.
My finger traces it over and over and
I feel safe knowing it is there. Just for me.
Our secret.

He played guitar so
I never heard my big brother cry
But I was in the cupboard
and through the keyhole
I saw him be a big strong man
And I cried silently too.

He painted rocks gold and made me see that the world is magic
but then
he left.
I should have been happy for him but all too fast
the golden world he painted
turned grey.

Mama doesn’t sing anymore.

Instead rhythm is shattering glass,
saucepans thrown against walls,
indents, screams, and

They say a problem shared is a problem halved but
to spill this pain is not as easy
as turning a tap.
I do not choose when it rains.

Do not whimper, do not cry,
do not say anything
This is our secret.

I heard his rhythm in the hallway
Like a thousand times before
so I lie still
shut my eyes
and try
to stop
my heart
beating.

In the end it was me who chose silence.

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