Old photograph. It tells a tale
as stories hide behind the veil.
Little girl who watches on,
surrounded—yet you’re all alone.

Childhood captured in the past.
The scene was set, the actors cast.
Joy dissolves, evil’s prey.
Your eyes cast down—you’ve flown away.

Talk with me, I want to know
who stole your innocence long ago.
Your face is young, but where’s your laugh?
What wrong has torn your heart in half?

Kindness lured, and you believed,
yet harm the love that you received.
The burden carried in its wake
sears your heart. Crushing ache.

Violence hides outside the frame.
The fear inside you, silent flame.
Comfort, absent. No embrace.
No I love you’s in this space.

You carry more than you can bear,
the secrets you aren’t safe to share.
Your face, it shows the weight of shame
and says you are the one to blame.

Whispered. Cold malignant lies.
Darkness thinks he’s won the prize.
Reminding you who you became,
as pawn in your abuser’s game.

Abandoned there, left to survive
without the tools to live and thrive.
You find a way to sink and hide
to soothe the injured child inside.

Oh, little one, come sit with me—
I want to hear, I want to see.
Lift up your eyes. Hear me proclaim,
I see your face! I know your name!

As witness to your pain, I stand.
The mirror shows us hand in hand.
Reflection speaks the truth, you see,
for I am you, and you are me.

Wendy Lipham lives on the Alabama Gulf Coast where she has taught interview and communication skills for over twenty years. Having heard God’s call to work with young women who have experienced sexual violence and abuse, she is further inspired by the growth of her “Beautifully Broken” story group. She enjoys writing, drawing, and needlepoint. Most of all, she loves living life beside her husband and hearing the laughter of their seven grandchildren.