(TW: sexual abuse of a minor)
you were always teacher's pet
((asked you to stay after class))
didn't have anyone to go home to
nobody to eat lunch with or pass
crinkled paper notes, whispers
between the aisles and clasped
hands in the hallways... only
girl you considered friend didn’t
want anything to do with you,
((after the midnight escapade))
taken into her room covered in
smoke & guilt lingering, stuck to
your hair and flimsy nightgown.
no family, no friends — outcast
((yet he saw great things in you))
told you how beautiful your eyes
shone, how silky your hair between
fingers. you did not know how to
tell him you didn’t like it, ((any of it.))
He was the only one who saw you
the only one who felt your worth.
you grew to like it, accept it.
anticipate his fingers locked in
strands of hair, tugging until your
eyes well with tears. Ignore this
screaming pain, become a puppet.
((strings are his to tug)), move as he
pleases. contort into any shape.
wear ribbons in your hair to
catch his eyes, capture notice.
short skirts and long thighs
as you grow, budding breasts
rosebuds peek through cloth
innocence once wrapped you
in a shroud, now stripped away
((naked babe, cold & shivering))
you’ll give him anything he pleases.
the cost to see him smile, down on
knees like in prayer, head bowed.
chastity wasn’t something you could
afford. Never an option for those
who adored you, ((took everything))
all that’s left to call your own
is dance. Ballet becomes solace;
((always someone you aim to please.))
A LONELY WIZARD'S ENCHANTED LIGHTER
Moments of weakness where you can feel
his presence no longer as strong, when the wizard
does not hold you away from harm; his grip
slackens and you can be free, exploration is yours.
Escape the wizard's captive spell to lurk
unnoticed through his home, peering between
cracked doorways, climbing winding staircases
in this castle of mazes. One room, pristine, the
heart of it all, his nesting grounds - bedroom
with arching fourpost and feathered pillows
tempts you to burrow in and rest among
the privacy of a wizardly soul, his hearth glows,
fireplace lit with mystic flames, heat reaches
like prying fingers, stringing you further inside.
There – on the bedside, glistening oyster pearl
keepsake, polished silver plate glinting —
how one small item can soon ignite aflame
burning blaze like the wooden phoenix, head
lifted high into blackened sky, ash flakes like snow
the lighter invigorates in you that old feeling,
smothered desires to become the flaming bird,
to lift yourself into an endless night. To burn.
his lighter gleams a winking eye, chanting in veins
a throb of deep craving devotion, fingers itch
to clutch inside your palm. swirling snakes
forked tongues flicker to taste, absorb and
dominate your flowering aroma. a tiny budding rose
constricted among starlit scales; petals weeping.
woman's face engraved on smooth surface
nose buried in rose's delicate embrace, snakes
become flowing hair, wrapped around svelte neck
when you grasp it, the metal burns. thrums
the rhythm of your heart echoes inside.
this lighter is your destiny, beckoning. You know
what you must do. You know what you must burn.
Take what isn't yours and hide away in warmth,
splay spider limbs across an ocean of blankets
imagine the wizard here, looming atop your nudity
spread legs to reveal sacred space, slip inside
this found keepsake, private delicacy
like wizard's thick finger, open wide this
cavern of skin spread over sting of metal —
becomes part of you; he will never know.
the wizard will never discover
this buried treasure.
He will never recognize these deep desires
or attempt to seek what you have found.
Ecstasy hot and sharp flickers like the snakes
licking your insides. You are one with the flame
how you've always dreamed to be.
Tianna G. Hansen has been writing her whole life, specializing in poetry and creative nonfiction with a sprinkling of fiction mixed in. You can find her published work on CreativeTianna.com or check her out on Twitter @tiannag92. She founded Rhythm & Bones Press in June 2018 and continues to work for progressing the idea of turning trauma into art, which is what much of her work focuses around. Find them at RhythmNBone.com or on Twitter @RhythmBonesLit
Both poems are part of a poetic opera collaboration called 'A Victorian Dollhousing Ceremony' between Tianna G. Hansen, Justin Karcher, and Kristin Garth. They each take on the role of one character – the Firebird, the Doll, and the Wizard. These poems are from the point of view of the Firebird.