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THE NON-OFFENDING SPOUSE I hear every little sound of the gathering night my daughter’s dreams stalking the upper floor in search of vengeance in search of respite in search of resolution. I hear my own breath hush anticipating discovery for though I did not abuse her I am the one to be found I am the one who hears their sound. I hear every little sound of the gathering night the sliding sheet my own feet the tidal slur of harms I hear every little sound of the gathering night and I gather her in my arms. WAITING TRIAL These days are so tense I long for the anonymous recompense of night in bed still and unbled in the recess of silence I touch the sheet and am comforted that it does not hurt. Child you who eagerly sought instruction cheerfully trusted and were instructed to drown. You who know the most profound betrayal in human life rape by a parent throw to me this slim, opalescent thread of trust from the dark water your girl hands still chub with receding babyhood are laced in the thin line your feet search secure surface waving in the incoherent water deeper than either of us can perceive your face glows against the dark a pearl at the end of a broken strand you do not understand. I clasp this thread in my eyes and wonder where to rescue you I was lost for so long in lies. Sharon Myers SHARON MYERS lives in Lubbock, where she professes Applied Linguistics at Texas Tech and writes in solidarity with all children, non-offending spouses, and wildlife. Naomi Shiliab Nye. 4/09/04 THE TEXAS OBSERVER 21