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May 2018
My fathers skin conspired with the sun to poison him
It was rumored he was so warm Apollo himself grew envious

He left us in the dead of winter, wet wood on the fireplace.

And my mom, she hasn’t been right since. She missed his warmth so much, she began to feel it around her.

Her curious gaze melted into hurried looks, a chorus of false accusations and “I know I smell smoke don’t you lie to me. It’s all burning down.”

I’ve trained my voice so soothing as water. I am the only firefighter accustomed to smothering illusions.

Even on the good days, the ones she’s entirely there, dread makes a marionette of me. I secretly plan her funeral “what flower do you think smells the sweetest? Was it that Louis Armstrong song you said felt like coming home?” “Do you really like it when I sing to you?”

I just want to get it right because she will be attending it, in body not mind or self.

A going away party for the woman she used to be- the one that raised us, who never forgot a face or a Sunday service.

They say it spreads like… wildfire
Ain’t that something?
It’ll make a faulty narrator of her senses overnight.

What’s left is vacancy
A whisper of a woman
But a lingering presence
A sour aftertaste of my entire childhood

Don’t take it personally
When her body holds her hostage and she becomes a flight risk
a danger to herself around pen caps and shoelaces.

Don’t take it personally when her maternal instinct loses the arm wrestle with the disease and open doors and arms turn to barricades.

Don’t take it personally, it’s frightening to live in a world of your own.

Mom, had you suggested even once that an arsonist is what you need, that if our world matched yours you’d feel even a moment of peace .. id set hell fires up the coastline to kingdom come.

I still carry matches on me just in case.
Written by
Emily  21/F/Richmond VA
(21/F/Richmond VA)   
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