A Little Night Music

I'm sorry you have to believe that,
in order to sleep at night,
that I was the one in the wrong,
and you, the wronged and right.

This is your pity party and these are your rules.
This is your story, the lies that you choose.
I'll play.
You say:
You were the hurt child, and
I, the nightmare of reality.
You, who fought tooth-and-nail for the role of victim,
reveling in the right to cry out
in earthly injustice, like a slapped newborn,
when it was granted to you,
like air in your bitter lungs.
I'm sorry you have to believe that,
in order to sleep at night.

I'm sorry you had to call me names,
to pin them to me like an ass's tail,
in hopes that, like charades, I would act them out,
so you could point and wail,
"Look, right there, that's what I was talking about."
I was wrong, and you had the right.
I'm sorry you have to believe that,
in order to sleep at night.

I'm sorry your birthday came too many times,
and you had to grow old,
so your outrage was no longer cute,
and your tears left them cold.
And I'm sorry that I was the child,
that you needed to hurt like they hurt you.

I'm sorry you had to play Pass-the-Pain, like it was
some sort of morbid party game,
where whoever held the baggage at the end
was stuck with the guilt and the blame
for the rest of their days…
or until the music started again.

I'm sorry you had to pry my fingers open,
the tiny fingers of the little girl
singing sweetly in a quavering vibrato,
when the music stopped,
stopped on your stereo,
stopped in the room,
stopped the circle,
stopped meaning anything to you.
stopped in the locked corners of your soul,
and died on your lips.
It had to, didn't it.
That's what happens when you grow old.
"I had no choice," you said,
"The music is gone. I had to pass it on,"
because you had no song, so I had no right.
I'm sorry you have to believe that,
in order to sleep at night.