Hand-Me-Down Box

The women in my family have charms and secrets hidden in a hand me down box

We do not talk about the contents inside, not a tale to tell twice

Coats, sweaters, pants, and scars 

Slipping misfortunes under the lid, used tissues and words better left unsaid

To survive, there are things that must be left behind

Stories of empty nights, dresses too big to be worn by children, clothes that marked the loss of innocence

The box is sealed until the next daughter comes to take used clothing 

Then donate their nightmare to a new home

A box of abuse and silence 

Passed onto the next generation

Price paid by the one’s before us

A sign of womanhood for the next little girl

Teach them how to hide their bodies in plain sight

Something sons and brothers never had to know

I will not pass this box down to my daughters

The one that was passed down to me, the box that holds my own story

The ghosts of my lost women watch me,

Silent long before death, doing as they were taught

With this match, I set this hand me down box aflame

And the women cry… victory.

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