I was born into this shadow of beauty we call the American dream, but I was raised in foreign silhouettes. The same exact silhouettes that raised my mother. My first memories were of her forest gods and alpine stories that have taught me how to write spiderwebs into the hearts of the miserable so my words could hold them together. My deadushka's magic could turn monsters into swans with a wink because his love was so contagious. My babushka's, on the other hand, showed me how to howl like darkness so even the wolves would know silence. I was born as spilled as it comes; as ink. I now understand what tragedies look like at first; ("Blessings")
As my mother picks her way across a war with me in her arms, the world catcalls that I am a half-blood puppet. The daughter with Russian strings and American footsteps. I arrive in America where I am reminded I belong here, but that was the first lie that my mother ever fed to me. To this day, it still tastes like expired love.
As my father spent all his kindness on me in the earliest years of my life I was given an English tongue and it bullied my Russian one into suicide. That is the only thing my father ever planted in me that he wanted to grow. Those seeds of words I would later bear fruit as ripe poetry. Those fruit of the novels I will someday write as fiction into flesh. However, what is written beneath our skin doesn't necessarily always fit in our mouths. My father's greatest mistake was beating me into a ghost, but giving me the power to write about his hauntings. His abuse moves into our house shortly after he realizes I am a tragedy, not a blessing.
As I write myself into the moon one day I will become, I meet a boy who's laughter makes all the planets look dull. We learn to not walk like apologies, but like young legends. He was my first real taste of sunlight since I was brought here, and he spoke heaven into my eyes until I saw it. We loved each other like Peter Pan and Wendy did; deeply, cluelessly, and forever. Our immortality was a toy in the eyes of those who envied us. Yet he summoned the fires we should have feared as kids, but instead we stared into them and smiled. We were happy, and we were never sorry for that.
April 3rd, 2007. He died. That was the day I was old enough to grow out of a blessing and into the clothes of a tragedy. That was the day the heaven spilled from my eyes like the great flood and went with him. My mother theorizes that is why my eyes aren't as blue as hers anymore. The sounds of bullets hitting bodies today, even ten years later, between then and long ago, has the power to create painful afterimages of him. The post traumatic stress unfastens my blood from my my body and the poetry reacts by shutting me down all at once. Death asks me to write a spiderweb into his own heart, but I refuse.
I adopted grief into my family and he got along with abuse pretty well. To survive, I've left the nostalgia of that boy to hibernate deep in my bones.
Today is April 3rd, 2017. I stand before a headstone that exists only sometimes in my head. I kneel before it and leave the skeleton of my love like a bouquet of roses. The shadows and silhouettes align, and I hold hands with both of them.
I weep as the odes of "it's not your fault" fall onto my ears like they do every year. From friends, lovers, and family. They mean well. Who knows, maybe someday I will have what it takes to believe them.
But he never grew up, so guilt still flaps it's wings here.
---**Sermons with a colorblind priest
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