Take an observation like this, a child’s experience of violence between a couple, out-of-sight but not out-of-sound:
“Their love for each other was indistinguishable from the hate they felt for themselves. Sometimes children see more clearly than adults.”
In a song, in a lyric, even in an image, the child and the adult can inhabit the same time and space, so that a witness can observe the legacy of the past in the present.
But a work of prose that throws down an anchor in time, which whispers of another form and another shape, complicates the relationship between writer and readers with narrative expectations.
So, in this instance, for example, because the narrator is not clearly situated, readers fumble to orient themselves towards her. She is not-knowing enough to fully interpret for readers, because the sensory details are presented as though experienced by a child witness, but she is too-knowing in another way, stepping outside of the child’s experience to offer commentary that could not have been expressed in that time.
Because readers cannot locate themselves fully with either the child or the adult (who has experienced and who now remembers), the act of witnessing is fragmented, the full power of the pain not fully received.