All the Things I Don't Remember
The expression in the mirror
this morning reminds of bleak seasons,
a cold February spent sitting
on the door
waiting by the mailbox,
listening for the telephone on my birthday
How could you forget,
our dates 2 days apart…?
Was looking at my face
pale and somber
too heavy a reminder
of your failures?
Will I spend the rest of my life
filling the void, trying to replace
the sentiments and loss,
trying to understand,
if you couldn’t love me,
how would any other man?
How shall I?
Am I only the burden of your seed?
I was told I have your eyes,
shall I rip them from the sockets?
I share your same skin tone,
shall I surrender it to the leathersmith
under a cold blade of shame?
Our hair bears the same auburn hue,
shall I singe it at the altar of my regrets?
I have become accustomed
to raw disappointment,
to the wrenching of tears under a smile
the disguises you wear,
Shall I resolve at a loss,
take to heart your discouragement
and toss aside all hope?
No longer will I send coins spinning
down the well of dream,
no longer shall I be defined by blood
or kindred, nor the coiled helix
that damns me.
No longer will the cycle of destruction
burn my depths to cinders,
branding my skin with
tragedy or statistic,
no longer will my eyes bleed
at the sight of your framed repose
I see your features
in the faces of my sisters,
in the mirror,
in memories wrought
with distance and disdain
Your contrition a sunken chest
upon the ocean floor,
a shrine of oaths broken,
an endless October skyline by the bay.
But I have since buried the past
in the yard like a lifeless kitten.
Because I don’t remember
playing in the mud as a child,
under the old pine tree,
my hands wet with dark clay
I don’t remember climbing high
into the plum tree’s papery limbs
with strong Santa Ana’s
whipping through my hair…
I don’t remember canning jam
with grandma, making quilts
or learning to ride my two-wheeler,
I don’t remember the day
I sang on stage at church
in my velvet dress and curls
or bouncing my way to Sunday school
in the old rusty bus.
I don’t remember my graduation, Halloween
or Christmas, or my birthday, or yours
I don’t remember any of it
I was too busy trying to remember ...
trying to remember you.