To My Abuser

Shoak Alhussami, MA Student

May 15, 2019

Writer’s note:

This poem was largely inspired by the artistic and literary work of poet Andrea Alexon, especially her poem collection titled Broken Teapots. I use the theme of a gradually deteriorating teapot to reflect the nature of interpersonal violence that intensifies every step of the way, not all at once. The poem, however, ends with a more positive note highlighting the protagonist’s sense of agency and resilience.

Artwork for the UN Women interactive website, Violence Against Women: Facts Everyone Should Know


To My Abuser

Beautifully, calmly

Our story started.

No rages or storms

No yelling, pulling or breaking.

Our bed – safe

Our teapot – warm.


But there it was,

The first crack.

I saw it

With the knitted brows and raging eyes;

With your fists

Longing to dig into my flesh;

At the sound of your roars

                deafening me.

I saw it

When I was called names,

                ugly names

for not making your dinner –

the right dinner –

at the right time.


A crack and another:

The whole teapot was infected.

“It’ll be OK,” I lied to myself

Thinking the baby inside

would pacify the beast.


Alas! For the baby inside

became your weapon

to hurt more

to control,

monitor, and manipulate

my food and my body.

“But why?” I wondered,

“Can’t he see I’m pregnant?”

I didn’t understand THEN

My big belly, my weak body

Were too tempting for you,

Oh, I didn’t.


But for my child

                and me

For all the years

                of pain and tears

I’ve decided

To cry out and believe

There IS someone to hear.

I’ve decided,

How I wish I hadn’t;

Doctors, judges, police and law:

The system has already conspired

                against us –

my child and I.


Yet, I’ll continue the battle

Till YOU are tired

For I’ve just begun

to train my wings,

to paint colourful my pale sky,

and plant flowers

in the grievances of my heart.