Witness by Leigh Fisher

There’s a small, quiet person
Hanging in the doorway
just a little too afraid to sleep
Lingering at the top of the stairs
too hesitant to come down

There’s a fragile person, always listening
Even when it’s dark
and the sun has yet to rise
The hallway lights haven’t yet been turned on
but the kitchen light cuts
through the dark like the ray of a lighthouse
breaking through the night over stormy seas

But what this little person sees
is not the light of salvation

This person, not yet fully grown
a little witness to everything that goes wrong
The voices aren’t supposed to awaken her,
but it didn’t take her long to learn
whispers are the things of falling apart

There’s a light on
before anyone should be awake
Or perhaps a lamp shining long
after it should have been shut off
Blocking off the floodgate
of tense comments
hurt, angered voices

There’s a small, silent witness
bearing as the viewer of every fight
the beholder of problems she shouldn’t know
She’s far too young to know to let it go,
let it be

So now even when the lights
are all turned off on time
The bills are paid, and the voices
don’t keep her awake
She sits and stares
up at the ceiling
for the words burned into her mind
the sights attached to the inside of her eyelids
Never extinguish with the lights

About the author:

Leigh Fisher is from New Jersey and works as a help desk technician by day, but she is a writer around the clock. She is tackling graduate school applications, eager to study literature. She has been published in Five 2 One Magazine, The Missing Slate, Heater Magazine, and Referential Magazine.