Trigger warning: This poem contains descriptions of abuse. Reader discretion is advised.

Written by J.M. Bergman

guilty, alone
his eyes were wild like demons
his weapon hung by his waist 

he was a storm
and he was coming for me
he pinned me down 

i thought for sure i would bleed

but i couldn’t cry
i couldn’t move
i couldn’t plead.

he left me broken—weak
too many times to count. 

Why didn’t you ask for help?

he was a former preacher
a bible school graduate, a missionary

a man of god
forced to raise little, sinful me

so i hid the bruises 
hoping no one else would see
how bad i really was.

i devoured my bible,
determined to be good
but my obedience 
didn’t produce love like i thought it would.

i was scared and small 
and better left unseen. 

I see you, little me—
I know your name.

I am the grown up you 
and I’m here to take your place.

Can you teach me
your stubborn nerve 
that looked each new morning in the face?

I will go back into the nightmares,
to where the monsters hide.
I will fight your battles
until the light 
has no darkness left to chase.

Are you ready, little one?
this is the day 
the enemy will be slain.

Shame and fear 
take note: 
a power stronger than innocence is here.
The king of heaven’s armies 
is the terror you will face.

I hope you’re ready,
you pathetic storm;
your influence is about to be erased.

For more from J.M. Bergman on abuse and recovery, read “Father’s Day, violence, and the road to redemption.”