Poem: Saw But Didn’t See


In honor of October being Domestic Violence Awareness Month, I present you this poem. Actually, it fits in well with the course of my writing because this was written at the end of my first semester of college. But maybe I should pretend that the timeliness of the content was planned all along.

I wish I could remember what prompted this piece. Perhaps the concept of somethings being seen and unseen; how some details are there and visible, but they don’t consume your focus.

But just like “The Unknown Cause,” this one also makes me proud. Writing about a strong female getting out of an abusive relationship. Having the courage to break free and find relief, even if the future seems uncertain. The primary goal is to get away.

I really like how the woman doesn’t let the brief moments of happiness from the relationship derail her from getting out. She’s not getting sucked back in to an unhealthy situation. And she’s also not allowing those bad moments trap her further with guilt, feeling unworthy of something better.

I don’t pretend to know what keeps women from getting out. But I’ve heard enough stories to know it’s not as simple as it seems from the outside. And when there are children involved, the decision becomes even more complex. There is a lot of fear, often paired with very real physical harm.

The door slammed.
I didn’t turn around.
No over-the-shoulder glances
At the last seven months.
I concentrated only on my footsteps
Pounding against the wooden porch steps
And then brushing against grass.

I didn’t see his crystal smile,
The countless jokes we shared,
The late night talks, the candlelit dinners.
I didn’t see the walks in the park,
The stupid pranks or the celebrations.

I saw only what lay in front of me:
The dotted lines along the pavement.

A new morning rising in the east;
Pink and orange haze glimmering
Through the tree branches,
Peeking around roofs.
The clear blue sky broken
With warmth.

I didn’t see the fights,
The arguments, the broken
Picture frames, or bruised arms.
I didn’t feel my broken heart.

I saw the dotted lines
Against the pavement.
I heard the rustling of squirrels
And his stupid cat
Racing through the bushes
As I got into my car.
I didn’t see the red on my cheek
When looking in the mirror.

I saw the remains of my pride
Dangling on the doorknob,
Swinging like a pendulum.
But the only thing I left behind
Were the tire tracks.


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