The Witness, by Kelly Fordon

The Witness, by Kelly Fordon


I am like a flower / crushed underfoot.   I am well acquainted / with the dirt.

Maybe you saw the movie, Spotlight. Undoubtedly you’re familiar with the recurring headlines, as child sexual abuse within the Catholic church is repeatedly exposed. In Kelly Fordon’s powerful, intimate collection, we meet a host of narrators affected intimately by these events, and most poignantly, the voice of The Witness, forever marked by childhood rape.


I’m stuck in this file cabinet. 
Who wants to finger me? 

My words are onion paper thin. 
Easily crumpled, easily tossed. 

In French class I say, 
S’il vous plaît ne faites pas ça. 

Shower me with holy water 
and I shriek like Asmodeus. 

The first robe is always white, 
but the outer one changes 

like his performance. It was purple 
that day to remind us of our sins. 

As if I could forget. 
As if God could. The light 

above my box is always red, 
which means stop, a word 

I use more than any other.