trust your instincts haibun

They called her Wolf Girl on the psych ward at the hospital . No one had been able to approach her …much. She was like a wild animal. If you came too close to her, she would howl; if she was hungry she would stand at your table, looking at your tray with the puppy dog eyes, no one could refuse her. The staff was curious about her but all, without exception, fell in love with her especially when she would curl up into a ball in the fetus position on the centre of her bed…thumb in mouth, lights ON. If ever a staff member felt pity for anyone sleeping with those bright neon lights and turned it off in her room, she would sit up, howling, eyes wide, holding on to her blanket for dear life. 

Her name was Torey.  Child services brought her in 3 months ago to Emergency for a check up and after examination by doctors as well as the psycho-educator in chief, they assumed she would get her discharge no later than 3 days (which was customary in “those” cases). But she never got that release and Dr. Shelley, the Psycho-Educator in chief would not release her. She had a different reason at each court hearing…this last one was selective mutism, and that this youth was sexually assaulted multiple times for years.

Torey was 11 by now but what did,   “hell did multiple times for years” even mean?  Dr. Shelley just knew that this child should NOT be placed in foster care without guarantees she would be safe.   The system had failed her in the past when this child had put her trust in adults who should have kept her safe.  Dr. Shelley knew there were NO such guarantees.  She  took it upon herself to ensure she remain the ward of the court and in the children’s psychiatric ward indefinitely.  She had hope that some day soon, she just may make a breakthrough. Torey may decide to talk.

It was December 24th,  three and a half months since Torey’s admission, and she was in her daily interview with Dr. Shelley. This therapist had a unique approach with youths with selective mutism.  Her past 10 years of experience working solely with teens who had autism spectrum had given her a new skill…EEP.  Her colleagues, mostly professors at the local university scoffed at her when she said it was actually a skill that had to be learned with working with “exceptional” youths.  EEL stands for Exceptional Empathetic Listening skills.  Dr. Shelley had a knack of drawing out the most difficult and resistant child into trusting her enough to start talking…even if it was one hour a day, that was a miracle in many cases she had worked on.

Torey was different. She was brilliant. She had a way of knowing what adults were thinking and what they needed. This is how they discovered her exceptional talent or sixth sense you. 

One day, Nurse Grant, who had been working on the pediatric ward on the psychiatric section for 20 years,  walked on the floor with a limp wearing tinted glasses.  Staff all inquired with sympathy what had happened to her over the weekend and she just brushed them off with a, “Ah just clumsy old me bumped into the glass bus shelter. With the darn sleet and snow mingled, I could not see an inch in front of me and I banged the corner of my left eye and slipped and sprained my ankle. Enough said, no need for pity from anyone, so I got these glasses to avoid your mushy sad looks. Now ya’ll get to work!”  She did have a bit of a bark and everyone went back to work. No one asked her again and most of the staff avoided looking at her in the eye…or rather, glasses…except for Torey.  She looked at her suspiciously, sucking her thumb. She circled around her looking up at her and raised her eyebrow. 

Then she followed Nurse Grant into the nurse’s lobby and sat right next to her on the couch while she sipped her coffee. Torey looked up and did the most surreal thing…she spoke! “He gave it to you, didn’t he?” she said  in a raspy voice. Nurse Grant almost spilled her coffee and looked at Torey wide eye, in shock.

“What are you talkin’ about young lady?!”

But Torey did not balk nor did she feel intimidated by Nurse Grant’s harsh tone.  She just looked up at her with those puppy dog eyes and gave Nurse Grant a hug, whispering in her ear, “I know what them do to you.”

Nurse Grant froze at first, then relinquished to this precious moment because she had a feeling that Torey did, in fact, know.  Torey’s compassion melted her heart.

Later that afternoon, Dr. Shelley was advised about Torey’s first spoken words in private by Nurse Grant who had to come clean of her own personal circumstances. 

Dr. Shelley, called Torey to her office.

“Well, now, Torey. You certainly gave us a bit of a surprise today and I have to say a very nice surprise. I want to thank you.” 

Torey had arrived arms crossed, ready to keep her silence but was cut off guard when Dr. Shelley was thanking her.  She dropped her arms to her side and raised an eyebrow and waited…she was the prize of detectives…she had to know for sure…

Dr. Shelley continued, “Torey, Nurse Grant has been in an abusive relationship for years and no one but no one has ever had the courage to confront her and plead with her to get out and to a safer environment. Today, Nurse Grant came up to me asking to live in the nurses’ quarters for the night staff temporarily until she finds a new apartment.  I want to thank you for doing something not one counsellor, nurse, doctor or psychologist was able to do until you did.”

Torey stared at her, sizing what she had just heard, and took her usual seat in front of Dr. Shelly’s arm chair and said, “Yeah, well, it’s about time she left that f…..g loser. She deserves better.”

That was the first session Torey felt she could trust Dr. Shelley and started disclosing the sexual abuse she had been exposed to by her father from the age of 7 to 10 and the abuse in foster care the months following her removal from her home.

Trust had to be earned.  Torey was not fool enough to trust just anyone; she knew who could be trusted and she chose to speak to Nurse Grant because she saw an ally…a soldier in the fight against abuse  in her.  As for Dr. Shelley, well, Torey, knew she had an exceptional way of listening and she was just waiting for the right moment to feel she could actually trust her.





 the frog tries to help
a scorpion cross the river
an act of kindness

halfway to the other side
scorpion shows its true nature

smell cunning cruelty
even words soaked in honey
instincts are wiser

©Tournesol 2016









who said life’s even fair? (free verse)

Painting by Mae Giroux, Oakville, On. (my dear aunt)

 
she must get to sleep! 
in less than an hour 
bloody birds will peep 
chirping away with joy 
waiting for a new dawn 
but, 
for an insomniac 
their fervor makes  her yawn 
sometimes makes her go mad! 
 
still 
she must sleep 
in four hours the alarm will buzz 
grating at her every pore 
beep beep beep beep beep 
digging deep under her skin
annoying bleeping thing! 
 
today she returns to work 
a five day break she took 
away from tears 
away from pain 
away from fears 
abusive grownups 
hurting them in vain 
controlling 
and narcissistic 
crushing vulnerable souls
killing all their hopes 
sometimes they want to die 
it seems 
their only way  
out of such misery... 
 
unless 

her colleagues and she
together with the youth
they choose  
another plan 
they’ll live on one condition 
those bleeping grownups 
will be reported 
 
the cops will come 
and bring their troops 
youth workers and the like 
 
 
and yet, 
 
more time will run its course 
over days and weeks and months 
until this youth is truly safe 
from physical, 
sexual 
and emotional harm
 
but n’er from their nightmares
and not from all their wounds 
no, indeed that takes 
an entire lifetime 
they’ll start the healing process 
a little bit here and there 
a break for a while 
trying to ignore the pain 
reprieve from all those memories 
 
and on and on it goes 
the victim pays a lifetime 
assailant n’er enough time!
 
who said life’s even fair? 
the wounded try to mend 
their broken and bruised souls 
abusers lick their wounds 
playing victim of their sins 
pleading time they've served,
too bad, they'll usually win!
who said life’s even fair?

...one last yawn,
reciting her Hail Mary's
an Act of Contrition
and prays for a better day.
(c) Cheryl-Lynn '19/01/06
edited April 17, 2019

Plain Jane (troibun) Daily moments Aug.9/18

It was another hot and humid day. Commuters boarded the bus one by one, quiet and as soon as one sat down, they slid open a window next to or above them. Even open, there was no air. One older woman sat at the back and got her oriental fan out. The woman continued fanning until the bus crossed the bridge and a slight breeze came off the river.

Another woman who had sat on the side changed seat to sit higher up. Perhaps to be closer to the window and feel a bit of wind. A piece of brown hand paper was sticking out of her nose. It looked like she was trying to control a nosebleed. Her wet shoulder length blonde hair was pulled back in a pony tail. She had extra big sunglasses on. There was something about her. It looked like she had black eyeliner and it was a really thick line. She looked stoic, not reading or listening to music like many commuters…just staring out the window in front of her.

Just as the bus entered the terminal, the blonde tilted to the left and one could see she had a very black eye and it was not makeup. Getting off the bus, she disappeared in a sea of commuters.

Hidden in a crowd
One in a million faces
Nameless

Hidden in a crowd
Unnoticed
To each his own

One in a million faces
Who can pick out the victims
Suffering in silence

Nameless
Feeling safe playing Plain Jane
No one sees her

©Tournesol ’18-09-08
Daily moments Plain Jane. Troibun

Heeding Haiku with Chevrefeuille – we are asked to write a Troiku created by Chevrefeuille.`

reflections of a helper (free verse and solo renga)

This is a free verse written for MicroPoetry Month with the theme of “violence” in mind, reflections of a youth counsellor, followed by solo renga.

She listens with benevolence
their stories never told
the shame and guilt of violence
those tales so raw and bold
of adults spewing cunning lies
they violate ‘til she cries.

A pause ensues, she hears a sigh
despite attempts to offer hope
their stories make her cry

said tears bring no relief
some tales are just too hard to bear
she hears them in their grief;

the hardest tale of all to share
are secrets found in dark despair
illicit truths, unmasking lies
“You know I love you… Daddy cares.!”

she holds their secrets in her heart
and hopes the healing may finally start

tomorrow is another day
she knows it will soon start again
and she’ll be there to hear their say
in hopes to soothe the constant pain
if even for the briefest moment
expunge the grief away

© Clr’15

(solo renga)

autumn leaves
left on the grounds
destroy emerald greens

remains left to decompose
destroy the life beneath

tending to debris
allows the earth to breath
thrive again in spring

©Tournesol ’17/11/09

 

Sexual Assault Canada ;   Child Abuse in Canada

This video shows true stories in America and  statistics as well in U.S.A. – Child Abuse prevention PSA

 

Written for MicroPoetry Month #9

Compassion heals (haiga)

icicles of compassion

icicles melt
tears of mistreated children
searching sun’s glow
listening with compassion
pillars shimmer promise

©Tournesol ’16/02/21

©Clr'16
©Clr’16

Carpe Diem Theme Week #1 episode 5 Tibetan Book of Living and Dying: Insight 4 the power of compassion is limitless