Who placed your soul in one hand and your voice in the other and asked you to applaud. I wonder who made you feel small. As if not yet conceived, your expression made redundant before it had the chance to reach your lips- those barbed wire worms, a sealed suicide note, a tired mother’s eyes in the morning. “Children should be seen and not heard”. Was it your father? Did his gaze lock you in the corner and make you screech like the boiled kettle on the hob? Did the water spill from your spout and burn, was this the moment you learnt how to un-love yourself? To force a grin that buried tears when he said, “C’mon, give me a smile”. To wrap your arms around his neck and envision tightening them until he lays limp in yours. I wonder if later, you prayed for forgiveness for wanting to do so.
I wonder who silenced you. And I can feel the shame on my skin when I imagine it to be him. One who died in his chair and sat slumped in saturation for days before they found him. One whose name may not be soaked in blame, one whose face, I have forgotten.
I don’t remember Grandad. I wonder if you look like him.