Trigger warning: This poem contains details about child sexual abuse which may be triggering to survivors.
Painted a sunrise on the first day
Capturing its magnificence and strength
With fingers stained orange and yellow
And a smile spread across the face.
A twist of fate brought colours home the next day
Turning my room into a place of art, he came,
With a plain white sheet and a box of joy
This time, only the two of us to paint again.
Bringing life to a piece of paper
He asked me how I felt
I stared blankly at the blending shades of light and dark
While his hands moved down my waist.
Drew a girl on the swing one day
He had mastered the perfect skin tone to flow along
I quietly painted her skirt red
When I felt fingers crawling between my legs.
The girl on the swing turned into
A young lady on one page
I struggled to draw her breasts but then,
He grabbed my chest implying that I’ll too be a lady someday.
Flipping the pages of my art book day after day
I camouflaged between the whites
While he smudged them with dead colours
Which no more had any meaning to convey.
I could’ve screamed and ended it right there
But I lost my voice with the brush losing the paint
Dissolving and slowly fading in running water
And let him wash away my memories of colours down the drain.
Years which I spent in ignorance and denial
Of something so inexplicable
Unable to account for my fear and inability to express
Physical touch or emotional bonding.
Was as white as a canvas all along
Moulding itself at every stage, the fear lingered on
And I stood clueless and unarmed, trapped in my own maze
Because years ago, a man touched a girl his daughter’s age.
Swati Singh, a second year medical student, is exploring the power of words.
Featured image credit: Steve Johnson/Unsplash