William Bauman

Display of Desolation

Perched on the carpet:        A bird on a branch.  
Too young to fathom her father’s   condition.          
She barely remembers her        mother before
she died. Her three            older sisters bond in

isolation.                  They have grown akin to it.     
Expressionless doll   in her grasp.                 Her
playtime item.          They share the same stoic
glance.                       Confined to this vast space.

the dust slowly settles on                               every
piece                                                          of furniture                      
                                                dark shadows serve as
fetters that restrain them.                  She wakes
up every                                    morning and hopes

her father                                        doesn’t scream.  
She forces her tears to stain
her pillowcase        adores the shape it creates.
She was never taught how to pray. She knows   
her father wants to                          protect them, 

why must he be so obsessive.      So irrational. 
She pities him for not                 knowing better
The        Japanese vases,                  with complex
and intricate                       designs appearing as

a muddled messes, arch  over her menacingly
remind her
She is Powerless.         
The pattern has lost it’s 

complexity over time      The massive shadows
lost their darkness; it becomes              her new
expectation.        As she sits in the living room,
                                              she sees he has arrived.  

She used to be nervous           at times like this.                              
She has learned             it makes no difference.  
Her father doesn’t want                  to lose them
like they lost her.                              Confinement
and Force guarantee                                     safety. 

Isolation                                                    guarantees            
an absence of threats.                      It is worth it
                                                      in her father’s eyes.  


-Inspired by The Daughters of Edward Boit by John Singer Sargent (1882)

William Bauman is a first-year student in the College of Communications at Boston University. He has always been passionate about writing, but he has never submitted any of his work until now. William has a huge interest in literature and music.