the stick stood in the corner of the kitchen
a constant threat; stoking, as it was meant to,
chronic intimidation

he had a man’s right to deliver his blows
to vent his anger and his self-contempt
to cause suffering for the insufferable

someone had to make it up to him,
his loss-of-face to race, creed and poverty

for her part, eve’s daughter was ripe,
shamed by her intrinsic sinfulness,
worn by her constant pregnancies

her femininity: tired and task-bound,
guilt flowing freely, as all-consuming as lava

[relief, only in death]

and the seventh child was born to die
and the man was demanding his bread

she wrapped the girl in swaddling cloth,
placed her gently by the stove, and
while the newborn made busy with dying,
the woman prepared him his meal

© 2015, poem, Jamie Dedes, All rights reserved; illustration source is the National Center on Domestic and Sexual Violence, the photograph used here is by moggs oceanlane under CC BY 2.o license


  1. Jamie,
    Your wisdom and heart continue to amaze me!! A stone could empathize because of your writing!!
    The way you shine a light on abuse is both tender and forthright. May we all pray that the scene you’ve so skillfully illuminated becomes rarer and rarer and diminishes into nothingness!!!
    You’re a Mighty Warrior for truth; carry on, Sister!


  2. “Like” for your brilliant writing, Jamie. Since to “Like” this poem for it’s subject matter would be dreadful. Your words create an intensity of heartache of an extreme magnitude. Perfection
    When I think of my days as an abused child I remember feeling sad for disappointing the parents I never seem to please.
    May all of our hearts heal everyday …
    Isadora 😎

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Your poem haunts me, and you know why. It captures all we could not say before. We have said the words, yes, but you have at last said what the heart felt and knew. May it never be repeated anywhere by anyone…God bless!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. eve’s daughter was ripe,
    shamed by her intrinsic sinfulness

    MA and BA is religious studies. Certainly Adam and Eve a myth used as foundation for original sin doctrine. The myth seeks to satisfy a need for explanation. Calvin’s total depravity of man is harsh as well. For Christians isn’t it a more charitable understanding merely to see that man is separated from God, reconnects through Christ and achieves redemption not without Christ? I have read that in Jewish Kabbalah it is suggested that man threw God out of the Garden not vice versa as in Genesis. That makes sense as it is man that rejects God but His invitation is always there.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. This is a true story. The woman here could not read or write. All she knew is what she heard in church and that is what she believed. What she heard was that Eve tempted Adam and they ate the fruit they were forbidden by God to eat. She did not speculate beyond that, Carl, but I appreciate your comment.


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