rack and the screw

I, myself, forgot I even existed. 

I have attached meaningless things to my name, filled my home  

with unwanted trinkets, neglected memories. But I have not forgotten you.  

Those sunken eyes. I’d have killed myself trying to see you again, in that sluiced town  

which held nothing but murky waters. The name is one I’d become familiar with, but

that  was before, before the days when you gave up that azure car.

The windows were smashed,  or that’s how I remember them,

my mind can’t get them right.  

But I see clearly that school we drove passed- when you still wanted us.  

When we ate up one hundred and forty-six miles, back and forth for a month or two.  

I cannot remember that street name, but I’d never forget hers-

those hands, the smell of toxicity singeing my scalp,

that laugh as she hacked off my hair. Brown locks twinged with golden hues,  

pelted to peeled back vinyl. The easiness those clumsy fingers had held such a depth  

that it continuously urges me to this day. It taints me.  

I can still hear that wind beating down on too thin of walls.  

Wails of the air strapping me to that bed like Isadora’s scarves.  

The smell of oak and pine, yards full of pecan shells and three children.  

That four-way street led to nowhere, the place was a carcass of death and malice.  

Hypocrites everywhere, everywhere.  

One in that pulpit and standing at the podium, another on your lips.  

The church was full of liar’s daddy, and you were one of them.  

The one who held the key to trickery and guile had been you;

sermons about god and obedience,  

it sounded as if you were trying to convince yourself.  

But you were a stickler for punishments, you hadn’t cared for the time spent cheering,  

the youth of our years filled with courts and sports shoes.

Our mother baring jobs on her bare back.  

I pretended not to see the tiredness, much like you did.

You took up the brunt, as if you had any right.  

Welted my backside when it best suited you, and all her excuse was, ‘he’s your father.’  

I forgot the name existed.  

I had forgotten you.  

But I am reminded, bile rising in my throat when I look back at reflections.  

It is not your smile I see, but your cheeks, the shape of your rotten freckles

that match mine.  

Picturing lifeless eyes staring behind the rear view mirror,

irises pinned to that cemetery.  

There’s not a place I’d rather be.  






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