Poetry Showcase Award submission
I don’t recognize the crazed mother
I’ve become when they walk through the door.
No hugs or rushing to greet me.
Those hellos that used to knock me almost off my knees
with their giggling thrust into my arms are now so gone
and replaced with whispers between them confirming
it’s all my fault
this monster who has rejected their father.
They know nothing of drowned passion
of rigid backs in the night of disembodied sex
drained of all intimacy. I left their father
because I couldn’t pretend anymore
because behind the shut-tight eyes I was
floating in a foreign land, wandering,
further and farther away, wrapped in my
exotic scarves, a patchwork of a palette.
And when they walk through the door now they drag
in such hatred, such acidic accusation.
As if I could remain false without my bones
fragmenting under my skin, splintering my marrow.
I cannot count the shards that swim and slug
beneath my skin.
They won’t comply with the simplest
of requests like please wash your hands before dinner
or please place your clean laundry in your drawers
or please brush your teeth before going out into
the world becomes a battleground of feet
stomping up the stairs behind slammed doors.
Their disdain simmers beneath the surface of their skin
raw like uncooked meat boiled under the slab of sun.
Even when I squint my sore eyes at night
I no longer recognize my own daughters . . .