Stunted

He soiled your self esteem
bit by bit,

plucked your petals with a broken belt
until you were stem and bone.

You, as you knew her, were lost.

In your place was an apathetic, anxious
husk of a child,

Sapped of life and livelihood.

It took you years to unlearn your apologies;
longer still to love your form.

You forgot how to speak, so you learned to create
and to cultivate gardens of pain.

He tried to teach you
to be silent, submissive, and something less than everything

you ever hoped to be–
an artist, a writer, a daughter.

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