Purple Ribbon Poem: Quality Time

3/15/03

Quality Time

Now shut your mouth, take it like a man
Why are you whining, you know that you can

You have to act as the adult here
No one else will, don’t give into fear

Thank God you are able to close up your ears
Pray for quick peace and bury those tears

Ready to go, it’s time to assess
Sort people out and clean up the mess

Hope neighbors won’t hear the screams in the hall
Maybe no one will see the holes punched in the wall

Pick up the shards from a glass that was smashed
Wipe up the blood from a wrist that was slashed

Don’t think about how you’re all on your own
Kid yourself that you could pick up the phone

When really you have to forget about help
No one can know, so just do it yourself

Hold mother’s hand as she cries and predicts
This one will be the apocalypse

Coax sister to give you that knife from the drawer
Talk to her while she sobs on the floor

Watch father decide that he should disappear
Avoid and it and run, as he’s done for years

And you realize just how alone you are
The second you hear him starting the car

Luckily you have this system ingrained
A storehouse of highly honed skills to thwart pain

So reality always blurs in your mind
And when someone asks, you say everything’s fine

© Sarah Henderson 2003

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About writingforrecovery

Sarah is a writer and poet who speaks out about issues that make people uncomfortable. Sarah advocates for causes such a sexual assault, domestic violence, child abuse, and mental illness, and often speaks openly about her own experiences. She is determined to abolish the stigma associated with these issues and believes that it starts with people telling their stories, so she started a blog called Writing for Recovery where people can do just that. She is the author of three volumes of poetry and is currently at work on her fourth. She is convinced that there's a novel somewhere in her, and occasionally picks at the chapters so far. View all posts by writingforrecovery

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