What they saw

What they saw

was a fracture of four

or eight

kalidoscopic prisms divided

who knew how many parts constituted sum?

One

an accent, a way of holding herself, spine sharp against humid skin

the torn down dancer inside

they levied their best pipe bombs

you don’t know suffering, you don’t know duress

all your life you had it easy

they lobbed over the wall and

a part of her that wasn’t her at all

was gone.

She had so many pieces left

scattered like dried petals and torn out chunks of hair

each one held a secret

was violate for its succumbing

they had their edges of cruelty

a quota for destruction, she existed in the

erased margins, picking her way through fatigued debris

others baggage and make shift games

falling on top of her

close the suitcase

suffocate the girl

here is Wendy here is Jane.

She’s a kid again, the boys are playing

marbles on her back

later she will have a tattoo where

their game turned nasty and left its

ugly smudge of sweat

filling in the spaces of rage

with ink and screams, uneaten pain getting cold

put frills on it and you’re ready for prom.

She’s walking in your shoes, they don’t nearly fit

they’re going to hobble her run at the kitchen table at night

father carves a turkey into birthday cake

slices of trust, quarters of must, beg for mercy

dot your i’s

her mother has something in her eye

guilt, shame, blot out the voices, lock them

between your legs, don’t cut your hair

let it grow like a river until you can climb

out of your underground sink hole

here is a change of clothes, a new

language, some pennies for a fast train

felate the man who carries your bags

compensate his wife with stark widow’s stare

you’ve lost your first three turns at the table.

Fingered beneath crinoline, elastic biting inner thighs

stockings wet hanging over the rue de cremieux

as he rolls his tongue in your ear like a edible snail

you recoil and spring

down the side of buildings, a black cat is not sought

her search for cream forming on first milk of morning

kiss me with your entire mouth, till I bite my lips blue

let no words spill out, lay me down, taste my colors

fingering brail with sticky pianist hands

speak in sound

hear me now

movement is a push

then you are in

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To my mother

o-mother-daughter-relationship-facebookIf I had been your mother and you my daughter

we would have learned to walk both straight and crooked

together stronger for leaning upon one another

in this motion, undoing that well rehearsed need

common among our ilk

to walk alone

learning this when those who should protect

absented or let down, spilling trust

repeating patterns before we knew how to protest

formed inside faulty mold

given no improvement or nourishment for fledgling soul

we split apart like neglected corn

ears green and burned by indifferent sun

we sought the succor of dangerous people

familiar with their welt

hid the tender shoots of us within a grave

absenting gentleness

despising love’s solace

sharpening and hardening our calloused parts

we did not recognize in each other

the need overarching stubbornness

revealed at last

when day is lower in webbed sky than it ought

but better now than never at all

we break the spell we unwind the curse

If you were my daughter and I your mother

I would have given you wisdom

found in my search to banish self-immolation

growing like a vine within our generations

disappearing women from each others tenderness

enemies from birth

I would have rolled back our wounds and discovered

the beauty of love as it lies undisturbed

on the surface of a child’s face

who trusts before she learns to ache

If I had been your mother and you my child

between us, within us, all things take flight

we are the breath of our ancestors

we are the change of their losses and the gains of their folly

supporting our footsteps toward the

female divine who, smiling though hour is late

welcomes those who were lost on their way

into feeling whole, not out-of-place

beyond sharp spaces of our regret

there is time ahead where even the damaged

heart can forget her sorrow

never too late for finding each other

as long as we breathe

there is always time to make right

disturbance turned close like moon

undoing hurt in redeeming womb