Hera Mannan

Hera Mannan

An aspiring, bilingual writer and poet especially interested in writing about abuse and violence, be it sexual, domestic, or of any other kind.
Hera Mannan

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With our little blue telephones with little red buttons that, when dialed as we put their little receivers up against our little ears, say in a cheerful, artificial voice,

“Hello, may I help you?”

In that moment our little hearts stop as we scream quietly in our heads,

“NO. No, you can’t help us. Nobody can. Not anymore. What’s done is done. Our little, young, developing bodies have been
exploited,
owned,
squeezed,
groped,
destroyed,

by unwelcome, disgusting hands and mouths and other body parts that we weren’t interested in seeing, let alone touching and feeling and having inside of us.

But nobody asked us. Our opinion was
unimportant,
unsolicited,
unnecessary.

Our little, cracked voices were silenced even before we could raise them.

We don’t ask for plastic guitars or remote controlled cars or toy laptops like other children, for nothing can fill the voids in us, nothing can bring back or replace the parts of us that were taken away.

The parts of us that showed broken tooth windows and bright pink gums laced with overly sweet jelly beans when we smiled.

The parts of us that became ecstatic upon having a huge, bigger-than-our-face, red balloon wrapped by the string around our little pinky fingers. It was nice how the balloon could stay up in the air while being tied down to us.

The parts of us that showed their sour-sweet, sticky little ice lolly-colored tongues to our friends, competing for the brightest colored one. Orange, green, red, yellow. Orange, lime, raspberry, lemon. Sometimes blueberry.
The parts of us that sat in circles and ran around on our little legs singing I sent a letter to my father at the top of our little lungs. Lungs that weren’t filled with anxiety attacks. Lungs that could breathe normally. Lungs that had not yet been made to inhale air brought along with forced, dirty, unwanted kisses.

The parts of us that didn’t wish to scrape our skin off with soap and water as we stood under cold running water.

The parts of us that were broken at a very young age.

The parts of us that were quieted, packed in boxes of deliberate ignorance and locked up,

with big fingers against silencing lips that whispered “sssh sssh” to us until we learned to convince ourselves that it wasn’t supposed to be talked about, or wept over, that the criminal wasn’t supposed to be ashamed of robbing us off of ourselves,
that the shame was for us

to feel,
to breathe in,
to grow up in,
to live in.

The parts of us that only come back as vivid flashbacks during our random eye movement sleep, reminding us of sounds of careless laughter and the bell of the cotton-candy man.

The parts of us that walked away without saying goodbye.

 

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