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By: Deva Shore

Behind that smile

I hear his voice, this priest who speaks of you,
Strong, controlled, all eyes are riveted to him,
He gives your eulogy, an acclamation of your life
As he understands it.
He boasts your beautiful smile,
And of that he speaks the truth.

In that smile is the love of God he says
And like a bolt of lightning I jerk up straight.
Shocked to my very core I am sickened.
‘Liar.’ I yearn to scream, ‘it is not as you say.
Behind that smile was abhorrence, fear and loathing.’

You are dead and now you are at peace
But what of me, the daughter you leave behind.
I am your flesh and blood, the one you were to protect
You allowed him, you knew and did but not stop him.
You forgave his exploitations by your omission
And in denial continued to smile at all around you.

My eyes are drawn as a figure passes
He is comforted, consoled by the priest himself.
I recoil as though I have been physically struck
Why does not the body of Lucifer scorch this priest’s hand?
In this church where the love of God encapsulates us.

Why is he not struck down dead?
To crumple before your casket where your photo smiles.

I want to scream his evil, tell all those who grieve you
That he is a monster, not even a man, I cannot even say the word father
And what of you, you tolerated and condoned it!
What judgment would these people make, this priest?
Your weakness devastates me to the point of utter disgust
As your smile haunts my every waking moment.

I make oath he will never touch or see my children
That he is more than dead to me, he is not worth the ground to bury
I mourn you because you were my mother, but you were not my friend
A friend is one of trust, a confidante with compassion, sympathy
You willingly slept with a man who abused me, night after night
It sickens me to say that you, my smiling mother, are but a monster as well.

Let no one say behind that smile is the love of God;
God would not love a woman who allowed her child to suffer so,
Surely God will avenge me by castigating you for your actions or lack of them
With hope, God’s repugnance will not repent you of your sins
And only when he draws his last wretched breath
Will I finally be the one who does but smile.




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