“I’ll Tell You the Truth, If You Tell Me No Lies” by Melissa Countryman

“You can tell me.” She says  

looking down at me.  

An unaffected smile 

framed in lip gloss.   

Her long fingers with nails  

cut short but beautiful,  

hold a file with my name  

scrawled boldly across the front.  

The other she lays on my back:  

[on broken skin and welts  

and belt marks] 

Concealed by a pretty little  

yellow dress with a bow.  

I flinch away from the touch,   

though I try to bite it back with gritted  

teeth and giggled pain 

and hide my grimace behind  

a naked smile. 


Her honest green eyes gaze at me 

through her glasses,  

like a scientist examining bacteria  

through a microscope. 

She sees straight through to  

where my secrets hide, 

chained to the walls  

behind locked doors 

and tight lips.  

Asking me, “Are you ok?” 

As I hear the clicking shut of a door. 

My body, motionless, timeless, finds 

agency of its own, and 

rebels against its Keeper and whispers,