Crimes and Trials

There are many ways
to lose a daughter.

To father loss
Rape by friend or
relative. Trauma
aftermath. Drugs.
Desolation, mental
disarray. Despair.
Self-inflicted death
after incarceration.

There are many ways
to lose a daughter.

To honour, patriarchy.
Father and brothers’
terminal discipline.
Packed in a suitcase,
or scattered in the
woods, to feed the god
of misogyny. Avert
love, stifle sexuality.

There are many ways
to lose a daughter.

To the boyfriend from
hell. Dominant, studded
and chained. Spineless
yet controlling. Dependent
and drugged up. Silent
but watchful. Directionless
and draining. Consuming
her generosity, her energy.

There are many ways
to lose a daughter.

Suddenly, unawares. Or
gradually, again and again,
over the years, as she grows
away. Leaving early, returning
late. Intermittent, always in
haste. Stalking the fridge.
Frenetic and silent. Sleeping
all hours. No conversation.

There are many ways
to lose a daughter.

Because she looks different
on the street. Goth or punk.
Intellectual, vivacious.
Daring and independent.
Beyond reach and sexy.
Tender but self-sufficient.
Until stabbed to oblivion.
Revenge on rebellion.

There are many ways
to lose a daughter.

Because she fights injustice.
Investigates criminality and
corruption at the highest level.
Relentlessly. Setting fear aside.
Or organises women at risk.
Providing information, education,
inspiration. Materials for living
beyond fear and abuse.

There are many ways
to lose a daughter.

Systematically, with painstaking
care. Or casually, without due
regard. Knowing but helpless.
Sleepwalking into stand-off,
despite intelligence and desire.
Drained of brains. Experience
irrelevant. Words like rocks
in your path and heart.

There are many ways
to lose a daughter.

All of them preventable
catastrophes.

val walsh / 2011

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