Tough Love

Madness swells and seeps under doors.
The darkness in each of us seeks out its own.
We are like blind mice
feeling for the exit
in a warehouse stalked by cats.
A thousand stolen childhoods rise up in anger,
shaming hypocrisy and demolishing excuses.
Childhood sexual abuse:
The perfume of privilege turns to the stink
of yesterday's household garbage.
Stripped naked of all pretension,
emptied of respectability,
the gatekeepers only now
turn around in confusion and sorrow.
Transitioned into care,
yesterday's people outlive their usefulness.
The boundaries of independence
tightened in stages to a choke hold.
Those who might otherwise have loved them
steal their dignity;
legal sensible, faux compassion.
Unspoken sadness for their children
who consigned them there;
who plan
and confirm their own decline
in turn and in time.
A termination
on the strength of a prenatal scan.
Imperfect parents will try another time
for a perfect child.
This one flawed;
airbrushed out of a family's history.
Binned as biological waste;
the child spared at least,
the obscenity of having parents
like these.
Fragments of a hundred butchered innocents
lie on a hot black road;
litter left by soldiers of Allah.
An unfinished jigsaw of heads and limbs
sorted and ripped by beaks and talons
like the hands of bargain shoppers at a Christmas sale.
Forget love and kindness.
Cruelty and violence are the price
of entry to paradise.
Who'd have thought?
love is not set aside for the greater good,
explained away by self interest,
dishonoured through selfishness,
or perverted by a pustulant ideology.
Love that is not obedient or predictable,
but wild and radical,
risky and frightening;
waits to lead the way
out of darkness
into the light.

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