Rough Draft

I’m writing you out of my soul

using colorful adjectives to describe
the audacity with which you
pummeled and terrorized me,

preening in your fruit-of-the-looms
as if I were a lover
to be wooed and seduced,
when what I wanted was nothing more
than to eat my morning cereal in peace,
spoon held tightly
in child-sized hand.

(See how I erase the careless smudge marks
you left on the tablet of my heart.)

You are reduced to

a mere typo on paper,
the mistake of you magically rectified
with spell check,
an adult’s version of a child’s sturdy pink eraser.

(“What are you writing—a book?
When you come to me, leave that chapter out!”
This was consistently followed by your caustic laugh
and your sadistic game of playing keep away
with my lined writing tablet.)

And all the while the writer in me
took note,
remembering my teacher’s admonition
to use active verbs
in my writing.

What I Did Last Summer
was a confounding English assignment
for I couldn’t very well write:

“I spent my summer vacation dodging my step-dad’s advances,
hiding in my backyard fort every chance I got,
turning my head, pretending not to see
the shame of his nakedness.”

I’m writing you out of my soul
the nub of my pencil
scritching the comfort of truth on every line,
knowing you can’t snatch away my tablet now,

or stop me from writing
what I really did
all those many summer ago
while mother waited on you hand and foot,
and my cheeks burned hot with secret shame
and someone oh someone
forgot to rescue me .

The deft motion of my wrist
erases these contraband emotions
with a flick of my eraser
or the delete button
on my keyboard,
erasing the very fact of you.

Oh unholy one,
I’m writing you out of my soul
I’m writing you out
I’m writing you
I’m writing….

(my pencil and words are mightier than your sword)

Rough Draft

Debra Rhodes

Happy Valley, United States

  • Artist
  • Artwork Comments 5

Artist's Description

I wrote my first short story when I was seven. My stepdad used to make fun of my writing; he loved grabbing my tablet out of my hands and playing a game of keep away with it.

It’s taken decades to give myself permission to pursue my writing passion. This poem is a declaration of my decision to reclaim my dreams, and my identity as a writer.

Artwork Comments

  • Faith Magdalene Austin
  • Faith Magdalene Austin
  • nanny
  • Soozan
  • Debra Rhodes
desktop tablet-landscape content-width tablet-portrait workstream-4-across phone-landscape phone-portrait
desktop tablet-landscape content-width tablet-portrait workstream-4-across phone-landscape phone-portrait

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