I knew my invisibility

Candice Louisa Daquin, Poem

I knew my invisibility when
the lady next to my mother in the French nursing ward
took me in her arms out of pity
for there was nobody there who cared
to rock a crying child, not wanted
by hedonists who erred in pregnancy

I knew my invisibility when
my mother tucked bus ticket in her blouse
kissed me goodnight for the final time
explaining she needed to get out and breathe
did not remember to keep the door ajar
and the night vanquished me in her absence

I knew my invisibility when
my father silently resenting single-parenting
did not pick me up outside the school gates
the boys in the projects threw stones and jeered
shouting; “show me your stinking snatch, bitch”
until I learned to climb trees and wait and wait and wait

I knew my invisibility when
my grandfather told me to sit on his lap
the only attention was the wrong kind and sick
everyone else got busy like they didn’t know what was happening
bit like being chained to a rock and watching for The Gorgon

I knew my invisibility when
my friends in bikinis had boys stuck to them like bees
cooing as birds will underneath willow trees
whilst I was bitten by mosquitoes not men
and the ordinariness of me was the best repellent
no need to spray tan, just stand and burn

I knew my visibility when
I broke into pieces and watched them descend
unwilling to drown I reached out and a hand pulled
me out of the darkness and into her universe
where for the first time I was seen and loved
for who I was and not a cream centered assortment
blindly plucked from a candy box