She asked me to write a poem for her
About the day when hot fingers wet with sweat
Massaged a constant stutter into her heart.
They crept through the haze of her confused disbelief,
Gripped her tight as hot stale breath,
Condensed upon her cheek, mingled with a tear,
And she finally understood the meaning of being weak.
It’s like sitting naked cold and wet
As the storm rains down and drowns out your existence,
And it’s almost as if you were never even there.
She cried for her mother that day.
Her mother could not hear her,
Was too far lost in fears of her own to hear her,
But still she called her: “Mama! Mama! Mama!”
Because you always call for mama in times of need,
Even if she was never there for you,
Could never care for you,
The memory of the womb is powerful,
Warm and dark and safe.
I guess that’s why she loves the night now.
That is when she came to me,
We sat quietly side by side,
She took my hand and asked me:
“Do you know what fear feels like?
It comes to you in stages” she said,
“First that fluttering premonition thump
Of your heart in your chest.
Then it crawls through your stomach,
A wet slithering alien invasion, impossible to digest.
Before you know it you are swallowed whole,
Drowning in bile as you struggle and choke on bitter fluid,
Begging God for the nightmare to end,
Only to find you are already awake, all you can do is wait.
One thing I learned that day is that
Violence doesn’t always come with
Loud and crashing fists of anger,
Breaking bones and bloodshed,
Sometimes violence comes creeping softly,
Gripping tightly in quiet twists of pain
And muffled choking sobs.”
That night she asked me to write a poem for her
Because for some reason she believes
That if she sees these bleeding words on page
She will be redeemed, but I have failed,
This offering I bring is dry and barren
Like the dust on mama’s bedside table that day
All it takes is one skipped beat
One hard out pour of breath
And it’s gone.