Prize Poetry

My Confidante

by a man, age 62

MY CONFIDANTE                         
No one knew but you
No one seemed to care but you.
When I first saw you I knew I could
Say things to you
And I'd be alright.

Because no one would know but you,
I would tell you my hurts,
My fears,
An all those things he did to me that
I didn't understand.

You didn't tell me to stop talking
Or to go away,
Or you were too busy to listen.
You sat beside me with eyes
Full of welcome and let me talk.

In the shade of the chicken coops
We would sit in the space you had created
Where we would be safe.

You would lean in to listen - the mere presence
Of one who cared to listen was like rain
On parched earth - I drank it in.

But those days were soon cut short.
Those days made way for other things.

So many years have passed.

Sometimes I think I glimpse you -at a park
Or on a crowded avenue.
But I quickly realize
It's not you and it never can be.

I greatly miss you my beloved friend.

I sometimes wonder if there are dogs in heaven.


[Author Statement: I am a 62 year old man and I am a survivor of childhood sexual abuse/physical abuse and neglect.  My perpetrator was a man next door. My folks were part of the physical and emotional abuse. So when it came to being able to say something to someone, at my then-young age my options were next to nothing.  Upon occasion my Dad and Mom would drive out to a friend's rural home where my dad and his friend would build rifles and make bullets. My mother and the man's wife would go on in the house to talk. That left me with no one much to be around - except for their old bloodhound named Mutt.  He would mosey over to me after the adults had gone in and he and I would move out of the searing summer heat and sit in the shadows of the abandoned chicken coops. I would hold his paw and talk to him, telling him about what was being done to me.]