"Listen I am trying
to remember everything
because it keeps coming back
like a skunk dog
on the porch
whining to get in,
and I'm afraid
if I don't let it in
it will never
go away."-Listen by Ann Turner
The skunk dog on the porch is sexual abuse and this moving memoir, written all in verse, is part of a cathartic process that Ann Turner went through to rid herself of the demons caused by the event. In the note at the end of the book Turner explains: "When I first started these poems it was terribly painful, like eating ground glass. But at the same time, when they came pouring out of my heart and through my flying fingers, I felt washed, cleansed, and somehow renewed."
This short 100 page memoir is divided into three sections:
Sailing- arriving at the cabin on the lake with her family; preparing for a summer of fun.
Sinking- a neighborhood boy rapes her and warns her not to tell a soul.
Swimming- she eventually does tell and the adults in her life gather round to help, love, and to teach her how to swim.
Not a cheery subject, to be sure, but the book is very powerful especially in its message of the importance of telling a trusted adult so that the abuse will stop. I will keep this book in mind when I have need of it for special referrals.