Secret Poem
by Carol Lynn Grellas

I remember the scent of bacon on Sunday mornings;
carefully placed in long rows on English china,
rimmed with dahlias in shade of blues− the table

dressed for breakfast; yellow roses, stem to stem,
packed close within a vase. The chandelier swaying
back and forth; pendulum-like on a gilded chain−

dazzling lights cascading over Battenberg cloth
napkins rolled in freshwater shells, in perfect order,
inside a flawless home. I remember the whip

of the belt, the sting on the backs of my legs
when leather hit the flesh; welts puffed and pink
in perfect rows, the soap in my mouth, the slap

from the spoon, the tearing of skin as I turned
my cheek too fast, the yellow roses and the throb
from the soft hand that tucked me in, brushed

my hair, held my prayers in evenings rimmed
with dahlias when pardons were given and hope
was offered with a thousand apologies

for perfect order, for perfect order.

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