She confuses love with abuse so easily.

But why are they synonymous?

She saw her first thesaurus in the attic,

Just before he unbuckled his pants

And closed the shades.

“She’s mature for her age,” they tell her mother.

She can slice her own apples and pour her own cereal,

But she’s only five years old.

She’s mature for her age.

She thinks her maturity has made him unbuckle his pants.

She thinks this is love.

We only play games with people we love,

So she plays the game of silence at dinner.

When asked, she says there’s nothing in the attic–

And he smiles at her from across the table.

This isn’t love, this is a lie.

There are monsters in the attic;

But she mistakes ghosts for angels.

She’s mature for her age, but can’t tell the difference between love and abuse.

She won’t realize that the marks on her skin weren’t hickies

Until she is sixteen. Then again at nineteen, and again at twenty.

She’s haunted, because they were ghosts after all.

She never tells her mom.

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