Unwritten letters flock like vultures above my father as he sleeps,
rewriting themselves as storm-wrecked wrens.
A plethora of apologies too late to be useful.
Anger has become his macabre mask.
Looking to me for release from his guilt
the old smile of my father when he was mine
and I was his.
Remorse shows; fleeting as a breeze in dreams of sunny days and peaceful times.
We sit watching the clouds transform;
bunnies, puppies, cars, and trains.
The sky is melted crayons, each color bleeding seamlessly into the next.
On my father’s lap I am a princess
Drawing castles and writing stories,
Love spills from my pen, soda pours from his glass.
We run and run through the yard,
around the giant flowering dogwood,
over the patio,
past the flower beds filled to bursting with lilies and daffodils,
shouting and laughing.
Grass grabs at my father’s feet.
I turn, knowing our sport is at its end.
The clouds change, dark and menacing while the sky becomes turbulent as the sea.
Dad yells for quiet.
Time freezes as I wait for his next outraged outburst.
Like a child I run to him wanting my daddy…
Like a fool I am turned away.
Heartache flies like sand blown by a cool desert wind toward my Nathan,
Seeing rage and screaming ochre sadness,
rushing to the front knowing,
What have I done
to send him crashing into oil-rich turmoil?
Thrashing into puddles of mud stained water,
And buildings with hidden fires.
Breathing in until stars fill his being;
Living on the brink of chaos
he rises on wings of camouflage
Fills my easily excited mind until I break.
Emotion bursts forth like the raging waters of a flooded river,
Swirling and swirling around my useless brain.
Swirling to create whirlpools of worry,
Whirlpools of hope,
Whirlpools of love.
First, throw in heaps of leotards and tights,
Piles of pointe shoes and old band aids.
Follow that with boxes
and boxes full of shiny,
rainbow colored dance costumes.
Then stacks of bills for the cortisone shots
that saved arthritic hips.
Boil away all traces of emotion,
No one likes a soup salted with painful memories.
Add a pinch of the cash father sent every month
just to keep mother off his back.
Allow a glance at family pictures
where everyone is smiling before they get thrown into the pot,
Mixing with the remnants to create a strange soup.
A deck of cards next, I think, with some Kibi
for a Middle Eastern flair.
Now turn down the heat so that lovely burning boil becomes just a simmer of anger and
Go find the crates of things better left unsaid.
Rummage through the
“OFF LIMITS” box,
pull out the nightgowns Uncle loved too much
and throw those in as well,
Just for fun.
All Yvonne asked for was Superman,
Ice cream style
with more blue than yellow
all her friends would think she ate a Smurf.
Maybe some sprinkles
to hide and seek in sugar log cabins.
But that’s never what she got.
Instead you left her lost at sea.
She got too much love;
if that’s what you call it.
Too many nights hoping you would rescue a drowning corpse.
If she could go back in time,
she’d chop off his dick and shove it up your ass.
The dump truck stops at his curb.
A pack of wolves file into the house, men in orange vests,
Greedy eyes taking in everything they see.
My father politely escorts them to the place he has hidden our past;
He flings wide the door.
The chains spill, twisted and tangled, onto the floor.
The men leer as he begins his arduous task.
Sweat flows into a river at his feet;
Another obstacle for him to blame.
The chains eat his calloused hands like children gobbling cake.
The river becomes tinted the rusty red of an old Ford truck.
Rivers of blood and water, guilt and denial that he has made for himself.
“Rivers of necessary evils,” he tells them as he fills the truck to bursting.
Evils that allow him to poke and push and torture.
Evils that allow him peace and pleasant dreams.
Black skirts and black blouses,
Black slacks and black jackets.
One hundred black bruised hearts.
Black faces and phrases;
“I’m sorry for your loss”s and “If I can do anything…”s.
I’m burning up and down,
Dying to run from this place like a tiger escaping his stripes.
Anger spills over,
Punches are thrown like whipped cream pies into a clowns face,
Fists fly, crows on great gusts of pain,
Noses bleed and suddenly
I am home.
Sliding on the slope of death
up to see her,
knowing she would be ashamedly proud.
Watching for effervescent soda bubbles,
thinking this a terrible,
terrible April fool’s trick
only to be greeted by her ashen smile
inside a tiny
Miles of rotten potatoes
and leagues of broken windshields can’t still my worry.
I’m thousands of heartbeats away and,
I’m fuchsia from caging in my jealous breath but,
you have won his attention.
with your metal life lessons,
are his sister now.
So keep him wrapped tightly in your all-encompassing barrel.
Cause if you aren’t careful we both may lose him.
And then where would we be?