Sunday, October 1, 2023

Wounded Child


By Kay Forristal

Hearing your step in the corridor, I trembled with fear
You had that effect whenever you were near
You would ask a question and though I knew the answer
My mind went blank, mouth dry, I couldn’t even whisper
You pulled the cane out slowly from behind the holy picture
Twelve lashes to the right hand, twelve to the left
You fed off my fear that whole year, brought me to despair
Did your job well, put me through hell, beat me every day

I believed that I was ugly, stupid and thick
Critical words flew like spears from your lips
Did everything you asked of me
Brought in money for the Missions
Gave my communion dress away
Sought your approval every possible way

Then came that dreadful day you stared at me and said
“Miss O'Carroll, come up here, speak up now!
Tell the class loud and clear who you love?”
I didn’t know what to answer, but then, whispered,
“I love God Sister.”
“You love the devil.
Tell the class you love Old Nick
Go into the playground where everyone can hear
Shout it aloud five times and return here.”

Sister, why did you do it? What did you gain?
You injured my body, mind and spirit,
Your actions caused long-lasting shame

©circa 1990s Kay Forristal

Click on the author's byline for bio and list of other works published by Pencil Stubs Online.
This issue appears in the ezine at and also in the blog with the capability of adding comments at the latter.

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