I Stop I speak up because not all abuse leaves bruises, but it always leaves scars. I speak out because not all violence ends a life, but it always stops one. My life stops every time another priest or politician is accused, Until I remember I can breathe. My life stops leaving me sleepless and circling my aching heart When the man who put his hands on me is deified, His good works eclipsing my pain I stop. I stop my life for a few seconds, for a day, for months, totaling years to tend the scars and grieve. I stop, unable to feel focused and joyful Until churning thoughts are sorted and, exhausted, my world is set to rights again. Stop with me from time to time to witness my pain and grief and anger. Stop with loved ones and strangers alike and be still diverting the world around us while we gather ourselves and whisper for the 10000th time, "This was not my fault."
Sarah Gowan 2019