For My Brother; The Boxer
You were born with a bomb in your hand
which exploded upon birth,
throwing your mother and father
in opposing directions
and you were left as shrapnel
for an older generation.
As the dust settled
your parents felt it safe
to investigate their eruption of light
but you had become an infection
festering their incompetence,
though you couldn’t begin to understand why
you made them feel shame.
The generations before them
knew of your volcanic potential
and did their best to guide your lava tunnels
but pain was a frequent distraction
and you burnt several paths.
One day you were left
without a Sherpa,
and you imploded–
forgetting the spark within you.
Then you stated writing
and remembered words were a match.
There are still days when your flame
is blue and dim, and the bark is green and wet,
a common obstacle for all great wild fires,
just don’t forget what fuels your roar
because there is always another tree to eat,
and where there is one tree,
there is a forest.
When it’s 9:30 pm and you just want to eat your dinner, but your 2 year old demands her lullaby:
Twinkle twinkle fucking little star
I know exactly where you are,
on the table in the kitchen
impatient, getting cold fried chicken,
Twinkle twinkle fucking little star
I know exactly where you are…
My Father’s Addiction Lies Waiting Beneath my Ability to Function
Fog gathers on a glass
filled with gin;
my mind sunk in the center.
My lips crack between sips
from the salt pools
that trickle down from above them.
My fingers grip the crystal
causing a drop of fog
to roll down the curves
of my insecurities,
leaving a streak of clarity
and for a moment,
I can laugh.
I focus my lens
on mushrooms and moss
on pebbles and puddles
on blooms and bugs–
in search of footprints
by fae folk,
leading to the world
below our feet.
I want gnomes and fairies
to exist beyond imagination
because then I might find purpose
in beauty, again.
Lapse of Judgement
Yesterday, I admitted I didn’t want to be a mom,
the text I sent ended the sentence with the word today
but I still wonder if that’s the honest truth.
I yell words like absurd and ridiculous at a two year old
but really, I’m still a little girl
learning how to deal with her drug addicted daddy
and perpetually depressed mommy.
I turn on a television as a substitute for me
because I just want to sleep until 10:00 am again,
I warm up nuggets in the microwave
because the stove takes too long to turn on
and doesn’t drown out the hangry screams.
I feed her blended veggie pouches
meant for six month olds
because I don’t want to clean up
the mess of vegetables thrown on the floor.
And I feel like I don’t deserve to complain
or to feel like I need a break,
because I actively asked for this.
She didn’t fall into my lap by accident–
I found her and made her mine.
I am afraid to reach out to other moms
for fear of shaming me
because I should feel grateful
I haven’t had enough time
to feel the need for a break.
I feel afraid to tell my husband
because he already raised a child
and won’t take me seriously.
And I certainly don’t want to be told I made a mistake,
or that I’m the worst decision for her–
like you said I had become.
Because when I see her smile under the right light
or hear her call my name with such sweetness
or feel her love in a hug–
I know I made the right decision.
I just need support,
I remember what it felt like
to feel nothing,
to scrape a dull blade
across the skin of my wrist
skirting around the definition of passive.
That knife was a gift
A black stiletto,
from my homeless, drug addicted father.
I wanted a switch blade
because I had just finished reading The Outsiders
and wanted to feel closer, to someone.
The length was illegal, and he made it a point to tell me,
not because he wanted me to know how expensive it was
or that he did some heinous act to obtain it;
I think he was just proud to have provided something
to his often disappointed daughter.
So I hope he didn’t see my face fall
when I realized it wasn’t spring loaded.
I took that knife to school
along with a wad of dollar bills
and asked my friend to runaway with me–
showing him the cash and newly acquired weapon,
he sort of laughed
and told me I had no reason to leave.
I never told him I couldn’t feel any reason to stay.
After the stiletto, came the butterfly
which I flipped into spirals while my mother slept
hoping the danger would jolt me into reason,
but I only ended up with an assortment
of decorative hilts and camping knives,
courtesy of my elated father.
I never wanted to use a plain knife
which is why I had my dad buy me so many special ones,
but the final hurdle I could never jump
was knowing that my dad would have found out
that it was one of his knives
bought with intention of innocent bonding,
that took his only reason to live.
It’s been around 13 years
since I last held that dull stiletto
or twirled my butterfly
with any intention
other than to admire and remember
the smile on the face of a father
who stopped existing a year and a half ago.
The knives still sit in my knight stand
and thy are still dull
and they will always remain that way.
Two girls diverged on a planet
and I held onto the hand
of the younger one.
You both came to me
as other peoples’ children,
which didn’t stop me
from becoming your mother,
but despite the labels
we are a part time family
so my hands are often out of reach.
I had to fight to be your mother
provide stacks of paper and money
to buy the proof of my love–
when your mothers only had to fuck someone.
You are siblings
no matter what blood says.
One day you will both know
something in regards
to what your father and I did
to shut you up
when you blame us in a hormonal rage
for your insecurities.
But we’d never wish upon you, the truth
of the nights we cried ourselves sick,
or how hard it was to put you on a plane
not knowing if you’d ever come back,
or trusting your sister’s parents
to respect boundaries and court orders.
One day I had to let your hand go,
we both hid our tears
before openly weeping
during a 2.5 hour car ride,
wondering how I would explain
to your not yet 2 year old sister,
you would be gone…
Believe me when I say we fought
to keep your hands within reach
so please so not be upset with me
when two girls diverged on a planet
I held the hand of the younger one.