“…our prompt (optional, as always). Today I challenge you to take your inspiration, like our featured interviewee did in the chapbook she co-authored with Ross Gay, from the act of letter-writing. Your poem can be in the form of a letter to a person, place, or thing, or in the form of a back-and-forth correspondence.”
Time to time, different seasons, moods…
I’ve thought of writing to you.
Finally I’m here—tears on heart, face,
Drenching bent-folded-spindled being.
How I regret there was no last
Opportunity for us to make connection—
Something genuine, meaningful, affirming words;
To “say” love, and apologize, forgive
Blurred-myriad disappointments, hurt, neglect…
Whatever prevented you loving me.
A child, trapped in earliest years’ endless dark
More scary than crying out, “mommy, I’m scared”—
I kept hope-hope-hoping through decades
That one day you’d look on me, adoring eyes…
Not despise me as though I were stranger’s whelp
Foisted upon you, unwanted winter snows.
I yearned for Hallmark-movie moment
When everything changes, is healed, mended new.
Can’t remember if I loved you…
All I recall is fear—everyday afraid,
Waiting for lioness to pounce, puncture,
Wound by shaking me in your teeth.
I barely breathed, tried to prepare,
But your attacks ever blindsided.
I wished you dead, but by the time death came
It no longer mattered, you’d already died inside me.
I needed more than you had, could give—
Craved nurture, and that you’d talk with me;
You held yourself private, gate locked, walls barricaded—
I wanted to know you, learn from you, yet dared not ask.
Your shaming, humiliating, tutored me
To agree with your appraisal, disdain myself;
I perversely chose others, men who reveled
In abuse, treated me with contempt…same as you.
I own single memory of us
Enjoying each other’s company,
Mental keepsake snapshot:
One summer vacation we took the family’s wash
To coin-op laundromat…folded clothes, load after load,
Munched snacks from machines, smiling…
Only day in my life you removed slave-chains, shared
Chores with me…it was Better than Christmas.
Since you were unable to—I wish I’d had strength,
Courage to schedule ‘last opportunity’ for us.
My friends’ mothers pass… in my efforts to be
Supportive I must imagine such loss and grief—
Because I’m still little girl who ran to
Flimsy faceless paper-cut-out invented mother,
(Hollywood actress’s name);
Girl who sobbed herself to sleep each night,
Failed to do anything that would woo maternal love;
Went crazy (which annoyed, disgusted you)
While you allied yourself with my younger siblings.
Oh, that I had steeled myself, come to you
One last time… I’d trade
Favorite possessions for a day, hour returned…
Chances shredded, dry autumn leaves…
Devil on the wind, laughing-hyena’s ridicule.
Too horrible, contemplation…
We never even said “goodbye”.
© R L Cadillac, 2017 ~ All rights reserved.
Images ~ Pixabay
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