Praise Of Risk

Entry by: ShirleyB

26th August 2020
The Gatekeeper

My Father said that peril was the gatekeeper of life.
A concept not readily embraced by the mind of a boy.
He also said that obedience from a child and a wife
was a man’s entitlement. Do not retort. Do not annoy.
Do not argue. Do not disagree. Do not express want.
Pray. Praise. Respect. Listen. Obey. Do not engage
arrogance or pride. And when Mother was raped I was mute.
When her wounds wept, I shivered with frozen rage.
learned peril by this, the welts on my buttocks
and the cupboard’s darkness. Locked in compliance.
Belittled. Afraid. Angry. Ashamed. And then mocked
for these. I dreamed in my head that one day giants
or heros would come. She died. I was ten. She was blue.
He cursed into glasses of malt and I cried, but not loud.
Then I grew and he shrank as he drank as I grew
and I knew the Gatekeeper was lost and yet found.
I was his peril. He lay in his bed, in his sickening ego
still ranting and spewing out desperate prayers.
I took Mother’s hand and I never let go.
The pillow felt soft as I walked up the stairs.