I’m sorry if you feel like you were hurt.
Not everyone in life is going to be
As nice to you as you think you deserved.
And he sometimes got physical with me,
Too—I’m no victim. So he was “mean”
To you—so what? One time he burned your dolls,
Called you some names (always the drama queen)
And lots of kids get spankings. Is that all?
It’s not like you were burned with cigarettes,
Or raped—plenty of stepfathers do that.
He’s mellowed out a lot now, has regrets.
And frankly, you were an obnoxious brat.
You need to grow up and get over it,
And stop trying to scapegoat him and me
For everything that’s wrong with you and what
A disappointment you turned out to be.

Now let’s not fight. Come kiss and hug each other.
No one will ever love you like your mother.



Myrlin A. Hermes is the author of the novels Careful What You Wish For and The Lunatic, the Lover, and the Poet. Her poetry has appeared in Gold Man Review, Sheila-Na-Gig, and The Notre Dame Review. 

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6 Responses

  1. Susan Jarvis Bryant

    Myrlin, this striking and splendidly wrought sonnet brings with it a powerful, slap-in-the-face message that took my breath away and left me reeling. The anything-but an “Apology” title and the heart and gut-wrenching closing line are a masterstroke. The first-person persona adds to the horror of the piece and takes me to a place I recognize only too well. An admirably written poem that I am sure will connect with many… sadly. Thank you.

  2. James A. Tweedie


    I haven’t offered comments lately but here I must. I have just read your poem and I am trembling.

    You have used sickeningly syrupy-sweet bromides to mask a knife that is as sharp as any razor. A blade that you plunge and twist in the closing couplet.

    I am trembling because I wish this was fiction. But I have known too many women for whom this is biography. It takes skill and courage to lay truth out so starkly. Thank you for sharing it with us.

  3. Carl Kinsky

    I found myself angrier at the mother than the father, then angrier at him than her. A haunting sonnet that explains how the circle remains unbroken.

  4. Yael

    That’s the most scathing non-apology that I have ever read in beautiful poetic form. Amazing!

  5. Michael Pietrack

    No one would welcome pain, but it certainly is a source of inspiration for a writer. Thanks for sharing this intimate snapshot.


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