Left

I knew your eyes better than the back of my hand

I knew the smell of your skin better than my own name

I knew the words of your silence

Each time your lips quivered I knew what words would leave them

Waltzing around for mine to answer

Now I don’t even know if your skin remembers the brush of my fingers

Or if we dance to the same melody

Plenty of songs remind me of you still

You probably forgot the sound of my silence

The day your lips first felt hers

Or the day I looked at you like you put all the stars in the sky

But that’s ok

You’ve already memorized the lights refracting in her eyes

Every curve and dip of her skin

They way her lips curl into the smile you can’t get enough of

Keep that spark

You tossed ours aside

Now you have enough for hers

Don’t throw this one away

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My Father’s Fight

Wood Richard L

Catholic

Oldest of 5 children, 3 boys 2 girls

Not in that order

Son of Arthur and Mary (neé Barnacle) of Wellesley

Drafted into a war that wasn’t

It was a conflict lost

My theater teacher said all the men who fought were monsters

But the only monster my father knew was the alcohol that made his father too friendly with a belt, his fists, anything to hurt everyone close to him

My father worked from below the poverty line as a child to middle class so his children didn’t have to see the ugly he did

He is the strongest man I know

If he fell they would have known how to bury him by the tag that he wore

The tag every man was issued

He saw active combat once in his two tours

His discharge came in 1973 signed by Nixon

We still have no idea all that he saw

Nor all of what he did

Radiomen like him had low survival rates and I am lucky to have him alive

To call him my father

His travel ban lasted 10 years and cost job offers

His work was, and still may be, classified

He’s a brilliant man who couldn’t attend the Ivy League college who accepted him

War takes impoverished young men like him

My theater teacher was lucky to be born into the privilege my father wasn’t

My father raised two stubborn, sassy, loving daughters like himself

Wood R L

Cath

One of five, the first

Born to Irish Catholic parents living in the suburbs of Boston

The only monster he knows is the memory of his father

Who he is the only of the five to forgive a sea of alcohol yelling, hitting

Breaking apart a home

He has taught me forgiveness, how to love, how to stand up for myself, how to laugh

He is not the stereotype my teacher thinks

 

Stained Glass

Why was I so easy to let go?

Am I really that forgettable?

I’m sorry all I had wasn’t enough

I shouldn’t be wasting my tears on you anymore

But when someone promises you forever

Just to give it to someone else

It never stops shattering you

It never stops hurting – giving them the best of you

And having them give it to someone else

You had someone willing to die for you

I had the world to give to you

My stained glass reflection doesn’t look like me anymore

But the picture you painted of me after you left

I should have loved you less

So it would be easier for me to forget

So your name would stop feeling like a fire spreading through my chest

So I wouldn’t be drowning every time someone talked about you

You threw me out like a strip of film you developed too much

Forever was something I was willing to dive into with you

I guess when you said you’d love me until the end of time

You were joking

The months I have lived with you absent

Haven’t felt real

You’ve been dating her for half a year

And I can’t stop thinking about you

Your name is tattooed on my heart

Your cologne is everywhere I turn

Yet you only visit me in my dreams

I guess it’s better that way

Elegy for the Girl Depression Took From Me

Your silence comforted people who needed an ear to chew off

Blue grey eyes assured that your sea would never be stormy

Yet many days they acted as mirrors reflecting blood running down the drain

Fingertips as gentle as your voice

Whispering hushed compliments

Wishing their thanks was a “I know you’re hurting”

Your brilliance faded away

With every layer of skin scrubbed red

Trying to lighten the scars

Your brain told your hands were necessary to let this cold out

With the kiss of a razor

Instead giving the happiness away

A’s turned to C’s

Butterflies your heart once held set free

Replaced by a heaviness no one but you could feel

Cracking open the chest that holds

I buried you the first time  they forced antidepressants down my throat

Each dose

Therapy session

Psychiatrist appointment

Felt like betraying your memory

Burying you down deeper

I’ve got to accept you’re never returning to me

Mourning you won’t do anything

Everyone says I’ve been grieving too long

As if they’ve had to mourn the person they could have been if mental illness never struck

I’m sorry I let this happen to you

Post Trauma

My memory started fading at 15

I couldn’t decipher between the voices in my head lulling me asleep

Pulling me further into the ocean’s depths closer to death

And the voices of everyone around me

Trying to extract the bugs I felt crawling under my skin

Was easier than admitting I wanted to keep living

I stopped checking for bruises she may have left after the first six months

People ask me why I shy away from their touch

Why I flinch at what seems like everything

But I’d rather erase 2 years of my history because the girl who decided physical violence was an adequate “thank you”

Doesn’t deserve to be named

Or any space in my memory

Being 13 is difficult for anyone

I guess that was my excuse for her actions

I keep living because then she doesn’t win

Yet the shells and rubble left behind feels like she already has

I swallowed the bullet she shot at me in staying silent

This skin still feels alien

Patience is a virtue when it comes to recovery

Everyone who is trying to help me,

Telling you is nearly impossible

It feels like flames and buried memories

That are better left dead

Dreaming

Just like a dream

It’ll all soon be over

And I won’t remember the parts that were real

Or the parts my memory manufactured in order to cope with you leaving

I’ll never be enough to fill the shoes standing next to you in a white gown

They just aren’t for me

Therefore I’d rather to be the first to make you believe in love

So you have something to thank me for

I watched you smile when the rains arrived

I’d love to stay for you laughing to the beat of the thunder

But you’re going to fall away

And I’d rather send you off to my fondest memories

Before I have to cart you off to the names that will never crawl up my throat again

Do not settle for convenient

Love someone who sets the passion in your eyes on fire

I can tell you’re already anticipating our ending

You’re trying to memorize the hues my eyes hold and the curve of my smile

As if remembering me is an exam you’re afraid to fail

But it’ll all fade away sooner or later

Just like a dream

Cliche Counting Breakup Poem

1.) I didn’t realize it at the time but

The day you left was the first day of the rest of my life

2.) Promising every last piece of me

Ment nothing

3.) Forever wasn’t in your vocabulary

Yet you acted as if it were

4.) Sometimes I still mourn what could have been

5.) Photos of you no longer make my chest turn to stone

Tears bubbling over wishing you never stopped loving me, stopped

Wishing it were me in your arms and not her

6.) I sincerely wish you the best now

You deserve happiness

Even if it isn’t with me

7.) Falling in love again wasn’t really in my plans

Until someone who painted all the stars in the sky for me

Wandered into my life

8.) He shows me the kind of love I deserve

He is patient with me

9.) You were only in my life for a brief moment but

At the time it felt like forever

The same one you promised me

10.) All the plans for the future

Went up in flames the last time

Your voice met my ears

Lips meeting in a final goodbye

11.) If I saw you in the street

I doubt I’d even recognize you

You’re oceans away

Our paths have untangled as have we

12.) My eyes are brighter now

Smiling a little wider

Laughing for a chorus of ears

You were never really my style


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