Cheryl Antao-Xavier

You Must Not Tell

You must not tell. It never happened.
She moved quietly through her life
Serving her abuser as he sat
At the head of the table.
Suffering his incestuous touch
The hatred of her mother
The studied ignorance of siblings.

You cannot tell. It never happened.
No one would believe her
There was no one to tell
No one came to her rescue
When the stones were thrown
He was the first to condemn
In the name of God
And the first to throw a stone.

Her dying words were for the God
Who had forsaken her.
You alone I could tell. You know what happened.
Where are you?

Cheryl Antao-Xavier is a poet and publisher. She is a Goan (Portuguese-Indian) Catholic, born and raised in Pakistan. Her first book Dance of the Peacock was published in 2008 and her second entitled Bruised but Unbroken in 2011. She will shortly release her first children’s book Life in Maple Woods, stories that embrace diversity and promote integration. She has read her poetry at Canadian and international literary festivals. Her poems have been translated in Rumanian and Italian. She is the National Coordinator for the Canadian Federation of Poets and a member of PEN Canada and Amnesty International.

(author retains copyright)