The Cafe at On The Issues Online Magazine is deepening the conversations by continually adding the insights of progressive writers, thinkers and artists on the topics we address. Check back frequently for new commentary. If you wish to contribute to the Cafe, email [email protected].

We’re now taking comments in The CAFE! Join the discussion.


Share |

View and Leave a commentView Comments

Back to Cafe Home



A Poem: Barrettes, Bandages and Butterflies

by Donna Nelson

October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month. This poem "Barrettes, Bandages and Butterflies," was inspired by my friend who passed away in April. The poem is about the malignant nature of domestic violence, but also the venomous feeling of entitlement that some human beings feel they possess over another human life. So many mothers have been robbed of the right to witness their daughters progression in life because their childs fate was unjustly decided. Many divine souls have been broken and lost. Since they can no longer speak for themselves, I feel its a duty to give them a voice.

"Barrettes, Bandages and Butterflies"
by Donna Nelson

Like shrapnel scattering through my soul
Her shrilling cry pierces my heart
Fear overcomes my being, causing me to perish in the idle moment
Back before feet, I gravitate towards her sorrow
Layers of skin are vacant from her perfect frame
I extend myself as she reaches out for me
Nestled in my arms her dangling barrettes and crimson stained dress tell the story
Nose wrinkled, with salt stained cheeks
She curiously gazes into my eyes
For to her, I am the keeper of all things that make it better
As I place the bandage on her knee

I tell her that he pushed her because he likes her.

Buried beneath the pile, cronies secrets lie
Knowledge is overshadowed by misunderstanding
Leaving innocence to bare the burden of shame
Like the day transitions to night
She is changing yet she is unsure of her fate
Days betray hours
She creeps forward to place her crimson stained secret beneath the pile
Head bowed in shame, she searched for me
Her hands trembled as her revelation spewed forth
As I clean her soiled garment and cleanse her impaired emotions

I smile and proudly tell her that she is becoming a young woman.

Vows foreshadow the intensity of this moment
Sweat streams from her frowned forehead to her chin
Her contractions become a contraction
As she cries out in immense pain
Pushing is no longer an option
I run my hands gently through her hair as I bow down to kiss her eyes
My pleas flow through my lips into her essence
In that moment, the metamorphosis begins
Bringing forth her battle cry
A new generation is laid on her chest
Leaving a birthmark on her crimson stained gown
Hand extended she pulls me in
Eagerly waiting for my words to grace her ears
She nervously smiles in anticipation
I thank her for bringing continued joy into my life
In this, my proudest moment, I am empowered by her strength and beauty

I tell her that she is now responsible for another life.

Gentle morning kisses goodbye are soon greeted by chipped teeth and broken ribs, when the sun sets
Frustration and cowardice invite temptation into a union set for two
He loves you not if he strikes down your dreams and desecrates your temple
Promised visits left unfulfilled
Unattended meals and frail excuses usher in doubt

I tell him that if he doesnt value my butterfly, send her home to me

Guarded secrets assume blame
Steadfast loyalty presumes hope is near
While pondering failure, angry hands decide her fate
In the presence of stifled joy
Her shrilling cry pierces my heart
Fear overcomes my being, causing me to perish in the idle moment
Back before feet, I run to her bedside
Her war-torn face and crimson stained brow tell the story
Hand in hand, her chest rises and falls as she takes her final breath
Her eyes no longer look to me for assurance
For she must now journey to the true keeper of all things that make it better
As I run my hands gently through her hair and I bow down to kiss her eyes

I tell her to fly!

October 1, 2009

Back to Cafe Home

Donna Nelson is a former fifth grade teacher in the nations capital. She currently resides in Maryland with her 12- year old son. Her parents are of West African descent. Her mother, Marion Adrianna Parker Nelson, has been her greatest inspiration. While observing her mother's countless humanitarian efforts, Donna became socially conscious at a very early age."

Also see "The Death of A Dream: Layers of Domestic Violence" by Nancy Genova in the Caf of this edition of On The Issues Magazine.

See "The Poets Eye" edited by Judith Arcana, in this edition of On The Issues Magazine.


Join the conversation. Leave a comment.

All comments will be reviewed before being published. This is a space for thoughtful and critical commentary; any personal attacks, abusive or offensive language, off-topic comments or comments that may be harmful to the conversation or to readers will not be published. *All fields required.*


Follow us on:

Choices Women's Medical Center Banner Ad

Print page      Bookmark site      Rss Feed RSS Feed

1983-2015 On The Issues Magazine; No Reuse without permission. • Complete Table of ContentsPrivacyLinks of Feminist and Progressive Interest