For Harsh Rain 1957

She's dressing
in her room
having washed

hands and face
and below
in bathroom/

small kitchen
then fearing
he'd turn up

while she had
her eyes closed
and slap her

nakedness
but dressing
Enid feels

she is safe
as if clothes
were armour

to protect
from Father's
hard hand smacks

but he's not
done that now
for some days

leaving her
uncertain
and he smiles

speaks softly
not shouting
or frowning

as he once
used to do
her parents

are sitting
in the lounge
soft talking

then laughing
her mother
giggling

(where once she'd
be crying
or screaming

as he slapped
or beat her)
Enid feels

on an edge
of a cliff
looking down

at a depth
fearing she
will fall off

and into
her past life
of beatings

and bellows
and he there
watching her

every move
just waiting
for one step

to go wrong
and then whack
and she knows

it won't last
this calmness
this being

Mr Nice
smiles and teeth
that one day

one morning
she will wake
to his hits

once again
like watching
heavy clouds

for harsh rain.

by Terry Collett

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