Child of God

After the old man,
with sweating grunts,
had put his hands on me,
thumbs like sausages,
squeezing, rubbing–
Storms clashed in my mind,
my twelve years consumed
in tidal confusion.
I”ll be back, he said,
filthy work boots shuffling
around the rasping carport.
I’ll be back.


washed away
long into the sea,
before the rage
washed in,
searing as
black asphalt in a
Carolina heat wave,
pain entangled
in bloodied thorns,
shriveling at every
“Fuck the darkness!”
Bleeding shyly like
a twelve year old girl,
then forgetting and forgetting,
watching the rageful sun set
into its spidery memories.

You came to me again,
upon the rolling years,
in my mind,
a curling shame,
a worm,
burrowing tunnels
for the widening darkness.
Anger was a lashing whip,
punishing me, punishing you,
our blood the same,
mingling, enraged.
Too much, too much.
I could not live this way,
nor die.
Over months to years,
I struggled in gradients small
as a step up this mountain.
I pondered your humanity.
Could a child of God
tear the wing from a sparrow?
Did you ever suffer?
Lament over a grave?
Did you ever feel the sting
of a tear in your eye?
I sorted through the shards
of my anger and pain
to see if there was any pity
among my own wounds.

I see light in the soiled,
grim memory of that
sallow afternoon.
Mama’s curtains of lace are now
tinged with the aging sun.
There is a wooded trail of
I shall not take it.
You are crosshatched into
a fading leaf of my life.
The evil is not erased,
but my visceral anger towards you
abated like the tides,
not disappearing,
yet not destroying me.
Gone the way of the earth,
you will never know
that while you shadow me forever,
I have released you to open blue sky,
where redemption is wide,
memory is long,
and Love consumes all.

Melissa A. Chappell resides in South Carolina on land that has been passed down through her family for over 120 years. She is inspired by the forest, field and a plethora of wildlife. Besides writing, she also plays the piano, the guitar, the lute, and sings.. She shares her life with her family and two miniature schnauzers. Read other articles by Melissa A..