i remember...

the blur of it,
the crushing of my throat,
the teary distortion
ripping away,
as i dropped the rose
like blood paint on your grave,
this seeping.

i couldn't see your face.

back then i didn't realize what i was doing.

i only felt the bites,
the clawing,
the water shed drowning,
as each cannibal memory
crashed in on itself,
now empty screaming.

the dark earth roaring in my ears,
covering you up
beneath the weeping August sun,
two days before my eighteenth with the air
so scalding thick,
i couldn't breathe,

couldn't breathe.

so instead of cutting off my right hand,
or my left arm,
or my young girl legs;
i took every thought of you
away.

i forgot your face.

you see,
it hasn't been the seven years
that robbed me of your favoring smile,
the warm history
in your caressing brown eyes.
it hasn't been time;

i'm the only theif.

i had to kill
that part of me that was yours;
to forget, i was that weak...

alone. and now when my youngest tugs at my sleeve,
points to the pictures and asks 'Momma Who?'

vaguely, dimly,

i recall--

curly black hair, tattered paper backs, gold rimmed glasses, tan olive skin, dark hawk's gaze, a knowing just for me, a well's voice echoing those few shared phrases spared, a feeling?

but then it is the furnace heat as we waited for your lungs to fill, and talked to you like the hospice people said to, even though your sight was closed and you didn't look like you with your hallow bird bones caving; you couldn't answer because of all the water rising inside then spilling outside, blurring...you to me.

and the old hungry hurt rolling...
taking you away
because it's still too painful.


and I choke
on words
that i long to tell
my girl-- she has those same brown eyes.





ii




forget-me-nots
have tied me up,
painful images of you.

and pretty though the binds be,
each flower a memory;
i cannot move or be moved
into another's comfort, embrace,
into a life without grief.




iii






i once prayed that you would die.

how foolish of i
to think that the sun's imploding
wouldn't erase as much as the fading winter light.

i said it
was because you were hurting,
but it really was because i hurt.

does my youth excuse
the irrevocable?
and what is more selfish
to wish your pain away
or to wish it back?
after all,
i knew i wasn't going to get a miracle,
when i asked, when i said

have her die or have her live;

god doesn't work like that.
he let his own son suffer,
the cup pressed firmly to his lips.

did you hear me,
crying behind the walls
that separated our rooms?
as you fought to breathe, did you hear
your ungrateful child.

when did you give up?

sometimes i feel like that prayer spit upon your courage.

even now,
all these years,
sometimes i feel
that i'm the reason.

and that's why you don't bless me with dreams of you,
why you don't haunt me,
why even the memories have been redefined
by a fire
which consumes--
and stills